After an incredible turn in Hulu’s TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale (so applauded that it bagged her two Emmys), Elisabeth Moss is no doubt inundated with work offers.
But it seems she’s not done with powerful stories focused on women’s rights just yet: The Hollywood Reporter reveals she’s signed on for a new film exploring underground abortion networks in Sixties America.
And the team behind it point out that, much like The Handmaid’s Tale, the issues raised are just as relevant in today’s Trump-led US.
Set in Chicago, Call Jane (based on the true story of the Jane Collective movement) will be directed by Simon Curtis (My Week With Marilyn) and produced by Robbie Brenner (Dallas Buyers Club). According to the website, Moss will play Jane, a married woman who falls unexpectedly pregnant and discovers a secret group of suburban women helping others procure safe abortions at a time when terminating a pregnancy was illegal.
Calling the storyline “really relevant” to today’s climate, Brenner said: “Women’s rights are important and no one should have the right to control a woman’s body.
“And that such an idea can be challenged today and that we can go back in time on these issues is scary.”
In January this year, US president Donald Trump signed an anti-abortion edict, termed a global gag rule, that denies foreign aid or federal funds to organisations around the world that even discuss abortion with women, much less help them access it. (This week, Denmark announced it would donate millions to charities affected by the funding ban in a “clear signal to America” that other countries would step up.)
Trump’s leadership has prompted several comparisons to the stripping of human rights in Gilead – The Handmaid’s Tale’s dystopian near-future vision of America in which homosexuality is banned and fertile women are systematically raped and forced to bear children for the higher echelons of society in order to address the country’s infertility problem.
Moss has gained plaudits for her role as protagonist Offred, though initially drew criticism for saying the drama was “not a feminist story – it’s a human story.”
She later clarified and amended her comments, saying she realised that in 2017 it was necessary to speak up about feminism specifically at a time when women’s rights were “under threat”.
Production on Call Jane is expected to start next year once financial backing is secured.
Images: Rex Features