Since its Canadian premiere two weeks ago, FX’s Mrs. America has drawn near universal praise from critics. The nine-part mini-series explores the 1970s conservative campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment, dividing its time between the second-wave feminists who fought for it (including Rose Byrne’s Gloria Steinem and Tracey Ullman’s Betty Friedan) and the staunchly right-wing founder of STOP ERA, Phyllis Schlafly (Cate Blanchett).

Yet as audiences have had time to catch up with the series, Mrs. America has also spawned something of a debate as to how it positions Schlafly, and the problems that come with compressing history into easily bingeable entertainment.

In a joint interview this past week with The Globe and Mail, Blanchett and Mrs. America executive producer Stacey Sher spoke about the politics of adaptation.

Now that the series is out there in the world, how do you feel about the critical reaction to it?

Cate Blanchett It’s funny when it’s a very specific period of history, and you think it’s a finite, hermetically sealed investigation. But this is so keyed into issues people are thinking about right now. Not just women, but the grand inequity we have come to tolerate in society.

Stacey Sher We’re thrilled that it’s created a discussion, and I think that it’s funny to look back at the seventies as a much more inclusive time, at least ideologically, because none of us realized that mainstream Republicans then were pro-ERA and pro-choice. It’s hard to imagine a time when the U.S. political structure wasn’t so polarized, and had real and thoughtful debates.

Blanchett The notion of public discourse being a conversation and discussion, and being able to have long-form nuanced discussions about very important subjects … it doesn’t feel like we have those public platforms any more, as much as social media promised it would be.

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