All posts under Mrs. America


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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Mrs. America takes a look at the history of intersectional feminism (or the lack thereof) in the roots of the movement, with Uso Aduba taking on the role of Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman in Congress who launched a presidential campaign in the early 70s. Asked about the fight for intersectional feminism, Aduba said, “I think it is something that we’re still battling on a real level, but I think the difference between now vs then is that the women’s movement is cognizant of it.”

In a coup for FX, Cate Blanchett is set to star as conservative firebrand Phyllis Schlafly in the limited series “Mrs. America,” recounting the modern history of the women’s movement.

“Mad Men” and “Halt and Catch Fire” alum Dahvi Waller is spearheading the project for FX Productions. Waller and Blanchett will exec produce alongside Stacey Sher and Coco Francini. FX has ordered nine episodes with production set to begin next year.

“Cate Blanchett is one the great actors of our time — and we are truly honored to have her star in “Mrs. America,’ ” said FX CEO John Landgraf. “We have no doubt that Cate is the perfect actor to play the role of Phyllis Schlafly, who was one of the most polarizing and fascinatingly complex figures of the ‘70s for her opposition to and role in defeating the Equal Rights Amendment, which to this day has never been ratified. Dahvi Waller’s scripts are extraordinary, and I’m thrilled to re-unite with my former Jersey TV partner Stacey Sher, and commend her on assembling such a dynamic foursome of gifted, female, artist-producers to take on this timely story.“

FX said the series would explore the rise of feminism and the push for the Equal Rights Amendment through the eyes of both Schlafly, who led the backlash to the work of second-wave feminists including Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, Bella Abzug, and Jill Ruckelshaus. The show promises to look at how the tension over the female empowerment movement helped changed the political and cultural landscape.

Schlafly waged a campaign against the passage of the ERA as well as against the legalization of abortion and the burgeoning gay rights movement. She was a self-described housewife activist from Illinois who wound up earning a law degree and remained active as a conservative commentator for decades. She died in 2016 at the age of 92.

The high-wattage “Mrs. America” is a notable get for FX at a time when the TV business is riveted to the growth and influence of Netflix as it seeks out A-listers for exclusive programming deals. “Mrs. America” marks Blanchett’s first U.S. TV series role.

The greenlight for “Mrs. America” also comes at a time when women’s empowerment and gender parity concerns have been making headlines for more than a year. The outpouring of testimonials about sexual harassment and assault in the workplace has heightened the national focus on issues of equality and diversity in the workplace, particularly in the entertainment industry. Keep reading »




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