A major movie star is coming to cable, which isn’t as shocking as it used to be, but it’s still pretty amazing — especially when that star is Cate Blanchett. The Academy Award-winning Blanchett (twice over) is set to headline the FX limited series Mrs. America, which will start production on its 9-episode run in 2019. It is, notably, her first foray into television.
According to a press release, “Mrs. America tells the true story of the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and the unexpected backlash led by a conservative woman named Phyllis Schlafly, played by Cate Blanchett. Through the eyes of the women of that era – both Schlafly and second wave feminists Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, Bella Abzug and Jill Ruckelshaus – the series explores how one of the toughest battlegrounds in the culture wars of the 70s helped give rise to the Moral Majority and forever shifted our political landscape.”
Created and written by Emmy-winning writer Dahvi Waller (Mad Men, Halt and Catch Fire), the series is executive produced by Stacey Sher, Waller, Coco Francini and Blanchett, with Waller also serving as showrunner.
John Landgraf, CEO, FX Networks and FX Productions, said today that:
“Cate Blanchett is one the great actors of our time – and we are truly honored to have her star in Mrs. America. 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.“
“I feel privileged to have this opportunity to collaborate with Dahvi, Stacey and Coco under the robust and fearless FX umbrella. I am extremely excited about delving into the material as there couldn’t be a more appropriate time to peel back the layers of this recent period of history, which couldn’t be more relevant today.”
It is relevant, but in the right ways? Do we really need a story about a staunchly anti-feminist activist at this particular moment in time? Or will it shed some important light on making sure history doesn’t repeat itself? With the caliber of talent behind the scenes and in front of the camera on this one, I’m certainly willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. But … maybe that’s been the problem.