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INTERVIEW: Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver Talk Abortion Rights and Voting for ‘Call Jane’

Elizabeth Banks and Sigourney Weaver in Call Jane

Call Jane comes to theaters at a time when abortion rights are back on the table with the upcoming November 8 election. And while it might not seem an important election to some, it is to those of who are fighting for the rights to our own bodies. Set in the pre-Roe v. Wade world of the 1960s, the story takes us through the decision of Joy (Elizabeth Banks) to have an abortion to save her own life, turning to the only people who were willing to help her.

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Highlighting the fear that once existed for those in need of an abortion in a way that shows how we are right back in that fight in many places in the country already, Call Jane showcases the talents of its lead actors while still giving us the hope of everyone coming together to vote.

In preparation for the film’s release, we got to speak with Banks, Sigourney Weaver, and director Phyllis Nagy to talk about the film and the timeliness of its release. Speaking with Banks and Weaver, I asked what inspired them to be a part of Call Jane given the timeliness of its release.

“I was alive before Roe v. Wade was passed,” Weaver said. “I was in high school and college, and this story of this group of women coming together to help other women get, to me, part of every woman’s basic healthcare. Every woman should have access to this healthcare if they need it, and it shouldn’t be demonized or kept from them. And it took me back, frankly, to the passionate days when we were fighting against the war and for civil rights and for the ERA and all these things, and the passion these women have, the support they offer these strangers coming through their doors, the respect for these women, their lack of judgement, I just felt it was so important to remind us that that is, to me, the way to think about abortion. It’s part of normal natural healthcare for many women, even though they may be thinking ‘That will never happen to me’ and ‘I would never do that’ in a kind of judgement way. Luckily, because Elizabeth plays Joy, she allows us to experience this with her and with it this really big political awakening.”

For Banks, she talked about the relatability of Joy and how she didn’t think she’d be a woman who needed an abortion. “I felt like Joy is a very relatable character in that she’s someone who thinks she’ll never seek abortion healthcare,” Banks said. “She comes with all of her baggage and really grows as a human being because she has to make this life affirming choice. I think when she feels it being taken away from her is when she really starts to understand ‘Woah woah woah, I want to be in control and in charge of my own life.'”

You can see our full interview here:

Telling a piece of history

For Nagy, I wanted to know how she kept the film so fresh in tone given the historical setting for Call Jane. “I think what keeps it from becoming some dusty museum piece is a couple of things,” Nagy said. “It’s the vitality of the moment, the actors and the characters that they play, a lot of those movies that may feel like history lessons to you, I think they are probably unduly expositional, the characters are not real, flesh and blood characters. This is a very hard thing to avoid. But luckily, our script presents us with real people, and the actors absolutely knew how to embody that.”

You can see our full interview here:

Abortion rights issues are human rights issues, and they are often diminished or explained away as just a “women’s rights” issue when the reality is that not only are there many transgender and non-binary individuals who are also affected in this fight, but it’s not somehow less important just because cisgender men can’t get pregnant. And while Call Jane highlights the struggle that faced people in a pre-Roe world, I hope that the film inspires us all to remember that this fight is for all of us.

Call Jane hits theaters on October 28, 2022.

(featured image: Roadside Attractions)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.

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