‘Call Jane,’ Abortion Rights Drama Starring Elizabeth Banks, Acquired by Roadside Attractions

Phyllis Nagy directed the film that made its premiere at Sundance

Call Jane
Sundance Institute

Roadside Attractions has scooped up the U.S. rights to “Call Jane,” the period piece abortion drama that stars Elizabeth Banks and made its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

Phyllis Nagy (“Carol”) directed the film that also stars Sigourney Weaver. Roadside is planning a theatrical release for the film this fall.

“Call Jane” is set in Chicago in 1968 and follows a suburban housewife named Joy who has a life-threatening heart condition as a result of her pregnancy and finds an all-male medical establishment is unwilling to assist in her abortion. Her journey for a solution leads her to two women who are committed to women’s health and have the dream of giving all women access to abortions, and together they form an underground abortion service for women that puts every aspect of her own life on the line.

The film is based on a true story, and the story of the underground network of female abortionists was also told in another documentary film that played at Sundance, “The Janes.” But TheWrap’s critic out of Sundance praised Nagy’s direction in finding a smart narrative hook to the drama, writing, “what makes Nagy’s dramatization the perfect complement to testimony-driven non-fiction told from the inside is that it’s artfully crafted from Hayley Schore’s and Roshan Sethi’s screenplay to be a journey from the outside in, showing how reality can necessitate a personal and political awakening.”

In addition to Banks and Weaver, “Call Jane” also stars Wunni Mosaku, Chris Messina, Kate Mara, Cory Michael Smith, Grace Edwards and John Magaro.

Hayley Schore and Roshan Sethi wrote the script for what is Nagy’s directorial debut. “Call Jane” is produced by by Robbie Brenner, David Wulf and Kevin McKeon. 

Additional producers include Lee Broda, Claude Amadeo, and Michael D’Alto, and the film’s executive Producers include Peter Touche, Christelle Conan, Judy Bart, Erica Kahn, Chris Triana, Randall B. Sandler, Joseph Lanius, Leal Naim, Michelle Campbell Mason, Jeffrey Hecktman, Patricia Lawley, Iris Smith, Gretchen Sisson, Amanda Kiely, Tai Lopez, Thomas Burke and Jeff Rice. 

In addition to a creative and below-the-line team made up primarily of women, including cinematography by Greta Zozula, production design by Jona Tochet, costume design by Julie Weiss, editing by Peter McNulty, and casting by Sheila Jaffe and Bryan Riley, the film also features a soundtrack predominantly of female artists true to the time period in the 1960s.

“Phyllis Nagy’s brilliant film is inspiring, fierce, and so relevant for our times,” Roadside Attractions co-presidents Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff said in a statement. “Elizabeth Banks, in a powerful and moving performance, along with the masterful Sigourney Weaver, lead an extraordinary cast to deliver an unforgettable story of women who challenge the power structure to support one another and do what they think is right.”

“The filmmakers and I could not be more thrilled to be working with Roadside Attractions,” producer Robbie Bremmer added. “I have known Eric and Howard for decades and their commitment to releasing great films in theaters is unwavering. They have been supportive of this film and its vision from its inception, and I am excited to bring this beautifully directed, acted, and important film into the world alongside them.”  

Roadside Attractions also picked up “Emily the Criminal” with Aubrey Plaza in partnership with Vertical Entertainment, and they ahead of the festival backed the drama and thriller “Alice” starring Keke Palmer and Common.

Howard Cohen negotiated on behalf of Roadside Attractions and UTA Independent Film Group negotiated on behalf of the filmmakers. Protagonist Pictures has international distribution rights.