As if the prospect of (deep breath) a limited series about the fight to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment starring her royal highness Cate Blanchett as Phyllis Schlafly wasn’t exciting enough, FX has announced the full list of actors joining Blanchett for Mrs. America—including Margo Martindale, Melanie Lynskey, Ari Graynor, Uzo Aduba... You know, all the good people. All of them. The series, which is set in the ’70s (think of the costumes), follows both sides of the fight over the Equal Rights Movement, with Blanchett’s conservative Schlafly waging a moral war against the likes of feminist icons like Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. The first two episodes of the limited series will be directed by Captain Marvel duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who also serve as co-writers and co-creators of Mrs. America.
Now back to that stacked ensemble: In this corner we have Mad Men’s John Slattery as Phyllis’ husband, Fred, “a prominent lawyer, GOP donor and anti-communist.” Melanie Lynskey is Rosemary Thomson, a homemaker and member of Schlafly’s inner circle. Kayli Carter is Pamela, a fictional housewife who joins Schlafly’s cause, and Sarah Paulson is Alice, Phyllis’ best friend (and another fictional creation, which seems like a sick burn). James Marsden will play Phil Crane, a conservative congressman from Phyllis’ home state of Illinois. Jeanne Tripplehorn plays Eleanor Schlafly, Fred’s unmarried sister and a close friend of Phyllis.
And in the other (good and right) corner, we have Orange Is The New Black’s Uzo Aduba as Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American congresswoman and first African-American to run for president. Rose Byrne is Gloria Steinem, the co-founder of Ms. Magazine and leader of the women’s movement. Ari Graynor plays Brenda Feigen-Fasteau, a Harvard-educated lawyer and feminist who co-founded Ms. Magazine with Steinem. Margo Martindale is Bella Abzug, the three-term Congresswoman who spearheaded the effort to pass the ERA. And last but far from least is Tracey Ullman as Betty Friedan, mother of the women’s movement and author of The Feminine Mystique.
Here’s the official synopsis for Mrs. America, which premieres sometime in 2020 on FX:
Mrs. America tells the 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 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.