Here's How the Mrs. America Cast Compares to Their Real-Life Counterparts
In Mrs. America, Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Uzo Aduba and more are taking on the roles of the real-life activists fighting for and against the Equal Rights Amendment in the '70s
Cate Blanchett as Phyllis Schlafly
Blanchett plays Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative author of A Choice Not an Echo full of political ambitions who started the movement to stop the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972 (and succeeded). The ERA would have granted legal equality to all people regardless of sex.
Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem
Byrne leaves behind her comedic roles in movies like Bridesmaids and Spy to take on the iconic feminist Gloria Steinem. Steinem was the co-founder of the Women's Political Caucus and Ms. magazine, and published famous pieces of journalism like “A Bunny’s Tale,” “If Men Could Menstruate” and “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation.”
Uzo Aduba as Shirley Chisholm
Aduba takes on the role of trailblazing Shirley Chisholm, who was the first African-American Congresswoman and the first African-American to seek the nomination for president in either major political party in 1972. She was known as a “maverick,” and was a founding member of both the Congressional Black Caucus and the Women’s Caucus.
Margo Martindale as Bella Abzug
You know the saying, “A woman’s place is in the house … and the Senate?” You can pretty much credit that to Bella Abzug, played by Martindale. Her first campaign slogan was, “This woman’s place is in the house — the House of Representatives.” The lawyer, U.S. representative and advocate’s nickname was Battling Bella, and for good reason: She was one of the first members of Congress to support LGBTQ rights, helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus and co-founded the Women’s Environment and Development Organization, which she led until her death in 1998.
Elizabeth Banks as Jill Ruckelshaus
If you’ve gotten used to seeing Banks in comedic roles, you may be surprised to see her playing Jill Ruckelshaus, a progressive Republican woman who was a founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus. Ruckelshaus also served as a White House assistant under President Gerald Ford (she headed up the White House Office of Women’s Programs) and a commissioner for the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
Niecy Nash as Flo Kennedy
The Emmy nominee portrays famed lawyer and activist Flo Kennedy, who co-founded both the National Black Feminist Organization and the National Black Feminist Organization.
Tracey Ullman as Betty Friedan
Ullman plays Betty Friedan, author of the iconic piece of feminist literature, The Feminine Mystique. She co-founded and was president of the National Organization for Women and organized the Women’s Strike for Equality in 1970. She would go on to author six more books and advocate for women’s rights, though she was critical of feminism that was, in her view, too extreme.
Ari Graynor as Brenda Feigen-Fasteau
Brenda Feigen-Fasteau had an impressive résumé. She was a Harvard educated lawyer, the National Legislative Vice President for the National Organization for Women, founder of The Women’s Action Alliance, worked alongside feminist icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the ACLU and was also co-founder of Ms. magazine. She is played by Graynor.
Melanie Lynskey as Rosemary Thomson
Lynskey portrays Rosemary Thomson, who was a close supporter of Phyllis Schlafly’s and a key player in her mission to stop the ERA. She was the head of the Illinois chapter of Schlafly’s Eagle Foundation.
Bria Henderson as Margaret Sloan-Hunter
Henderson plays black feminist activist Margaret Sloan-Hunter, who was a founding member of the National Black Feminist Organization, a poet and an editor at Steinem’s Ms. magazine.
John Slattery as Fred Schlafly
Phyllis’s husband, Fred, who was a prominent lawyer, is played by Slattery.
James Marsden as Phil Crane
Marsden plays Phil Crane, who was an Illinois congressman and key player in the fight to stop the Equal Rights Amendment from passing.