Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg got nostalgic while watching Armie Hammer cook in On the Basis of Sex

By Sam Gillette
December 17, 2018 05:52 PM
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Armie Hammer proved he’s just as charming and talented a chef as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg‘s late husband Marty Ginsburg, whom he plays in the new film On the Basis of Sex.

The film, which premiered in New York City on Sunday night, portrays the young lawyer (played by Felicity Jones) as she begins her fight for equal rights — and her husband (played by Armie Hammer) who supported her along the way.

“The most inspiring part of their relationship is their actual equal partnership,” Hammer, 32, told PEOPLE at the premiere. “I think it was the template that she applied to the change that she wanted to see in the world in terms of gender equality — of men and women working together in order to bring [each other] up.”

Before she was known as the “Notorious RBG,” Justice Ginsburg, 85, was notorious in her family for her bad cooking. To spare them all, Mr. Ginsburg acted as the family chef. (Together they raised their daughter Jane, now 63, and son James, 53). Not only was Mr. Ginsburg supporting his wife, it was a task the renowned tax lawyer greatly enjoyed.

Armie Hammer/Instagram

“Marty was a very progressive husband in the ’50s,” director Mimi Leder told PEOPLE. “He was a man who did the cooking, shared in the parenting and worked. It was very revolutionary back in the ’50s and very progressive and even so today. I think a lot of people can take a lesson from Marty Ginsburg’s playbook. Their marriage was one based on love and compassion and passion.”

Leder also explained that after Mr. Ginsburg’s death in 2010, the wives of the Supreme Court justices who had cooked with him compiled his recipes in a book called Chef Supreme. So, when Justice Ginsburg met Hammer she gave him a copy of the book.

“[Justice Ginsburg] was quite taken with Armie Hammer and gave her stamp of approval,” Leder said.

Armie Hammer and Felicity Jones (as Martin Ginsburg and Ruth Bader Ginsburg)
Focus Features

In a bit of off-screen fun, Hammer put the gift to good use by cooking meals for the cast and crew using Mr. Ginsburg’s recipes.

“I made what I call the Party-Marty meal. I wanted to entertain and cook for people because it’s such a huge part of Martin’s personality and what he liked to do,” Hammer explained. “My favorite recipe that I made was probably the chicken-liver pâté. It’s delightful.”

While Hammer already knew how to cook well, he said that using Mr. Ginsburg’s recipes helped expand his horizons because the late lawyer was “adventurous” in the kitchen.

“[Marty] approached his recipes like he approached his legal practice,” Hammer said of the composition of the recipes. “Very detailed, very funny, very witty, very charming.”

Not only were the dinner parties entertaining for the cast and crew, they helped Hammer get into character when he was on set. And Justice Ginsburg noticed.

“Did you notice the scene in which [Armie] is in the kitchen chopping vegetables?” Justice Ginsburg said during a chat following the film screening. “That was a very, very reminiscent of Marty.”

On the Basis of Sex opens Dec. 25.

For more about Justice Ginsburg and Martin Ginsburg’s real love story, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday.