“Starring as the Roosevelts are Jane Alexander and Edward Herrmann. To prepare themselves for their assignment both performers studied old films, tape recordings and private family documents. Some of their research was conducted at the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Libraries in Hyde Park where both had special visiting privileges.
Herrmann’s study of FDR was especially extensive because he was assigned the role two years before production began. Part of his research included a three day stay with Roosevelt’s son, Franklin Jr., who is the literary executor of his mother’s estate. In an interview Herrmann characterized FDR as a very elusive man who could be a great charmer or a snob -- depending on his mood.
Although the Roosevelt marriage was somewhat divided because of separate interests and projects, both actors thought the Roosevelts complemented each other to the satisfaction of both.”
~ from The Cleveland Press, January 1976
"I've spent a lot of time trying to figure him out," said Herrmann, "but he was such a private man -- even more private than Eleanor. The role is really quite difficult. It is first of all difficult to play a 50-year-old man, but FDR was so alive, so vital. He was rich and full, but yet there was a great maturity. He can't be played as an old man, but the maturity and the dignity must be there. The greatest challenge was playing the part of such a fine actor. It seems that shortly after Orson Welles' broadcast of 'The War of the Worlds', he came to the White House and met with Roosevelt. Coming face to face with him it is said that Roosevelt leaned close to Welles and said to him, 'You and I are the two best actors in America'"