Elisabeth Moss is pivoting from one women’s rights narrative to another. The star of the feminist dystopian drama “The Handmaid’s Tale” has signed on to topline Simon Curtis’ (“My Week With Marilyn”) indie film “Call Jane,” Variety reports. The project will center on the Jane Collective, a real 1960s underground abortion network. Moss’ character is a married woman who, after realizing she is pregnant, goes to the collective for help.
Hayley Schore (“Black Box”) and Roshan Sethi (“Code Black”) penned the “Call Jane” screenplay. Robbie Brenner, Jeff Kwatinetz, and Kevin McKeon are producing.
While it’s great to see Moss lead another project about women resisting the patriarchy — between this, “Handmaid’s Tale,” and “Top of the Lake,” she’s becoming the actress to watch if you crave feminist stories — we wish the producers of “Call Jane” had hired a female director. A story about women who were forced to go underground to attain safe abortions — because, you know, the male-run government failed to address their family planning needs — seems like it’d be better served with a woman behind the camera.
Rachel Carey’s “Ask for Jane,” also about the Jane Collective, went into production this summer. Carey’s film is a female affair onscreen and off: she wrote the script and star Cait Johnston is producing alongside Caroline Hirsch. “Ask for Jane” is expected to hit theaters sometime in 2018.
Moss received the Emmy for best actress in a drama series for “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Sunday. She plays Offred (formerly called June) in the Hulu series, a woman trying to survive Gilead, a society where fertile women are repeatedly raped and forced to bear children for its most powerful men. Moss also starred in Jane Campion’s mystery series “Top of the Lake: China Girl,” which aired on Sundance last week.
Elisabeth Moss to Topline Film About Underground Abortion Network was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Production has begun on a new film based on the true story of the underground abortion network known as The Jane Collective, a press release has announced. “Ask for Jane” is the brainchild of Cait Johnston, who is among the project’s producers (along with Caroline Hirsch of Caroline’s Comedy Club). Written and directed by first-time feature filmmaker Rachel Carey, the pic stars Johnson (“The Knick”), Sarah Ramos (“How to be Single,” “Parenthood”), Alison Wright (“The Americans”), Cody Horn (“Magic Mike,” “End of Watch”), Sarah Steele (“The To-Do List”), and Chloe Levine (“The Oa”).
The Jane Collective was founded by a group of young college women and based in Chicago, where it helped over 11,000 women get illegal abortions between 1969 and 1973. Though fictionalized, this account of the work of the women known as “The Janes” will stick close to the source. Writer and activist Judith Arcana — a former “Jane” herself— is acting as a Consulting Producer on the film, in which she will also have a cameo role.
“During a time when abortions were illegal, reproductive rights were being challenged, and birth control wasn’t easily accessible or morally accepted The Janes fought for what they believed in and acted out of bravery to create opportunity and freedom for women,” the film’s official press release states. “Five years before Roe v. Wade came into legislation The Janes were writing their own set of rules by standing up for and supporting women.”
“When I first heard the story of the ‘Janes’ and their covert abortion service, I was surprised I’d never heard of them before, and we hope our film will change that,” Carey said in a statement. We are excited to have a female-driven team bringing this important story to a wider audience.”
If “Ask for Jane” sounds familiar, you may be remembering an earlier iteration of the project. According to the release, “In 2016 Carey and Johnston’s limited series ‘Ask for Jane’ was one of three finalists chosen in the New York Television Festival Works 4 Progress Initiative with Participant Media.”
Rachel Carey’s Film About Chicago’s Underground Abortion Network Goes into Production was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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