Cate Blanchett to Star as Anti-Feminist Activist Phyllis Schlafly in FX’s ‘Mrs. America’ Limited Series

True story of Equal Rights Amendment backlash marks Oscar-winning actress’s first TV role in the U.S.

Last Updated: October 30, 2018 @ 10:18 AM

Cate Blanchett is headed to FX to star as the late conservative firebrand Phyllis Schlafly in the limited series “Mrs. America,” based on backlash surrounding the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the 1970s.

“Mrs. America” tells the true story of the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and the unexpected backlash led by Schlafly. “Mrs. America” marks the Oscar-winning actress’ first-ever TV role in the U.S.; she will also executive produce.

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.

Schlafly was a conservative political activist who successfully lobbied a campaign to the defeat the ERA.  She launched “STOP ERA” in 1972, which was an acronym for “Stop Taking Our Privileges.” Schlafly argued the ERA would take away certain privileges from women, including “dependent wife” benefits under Social Security. The ERA was only ratified in 35 states, and Schlafly’s campaign is often cited as a main reason for its eventual defeat. She died in 2016 at the age of 92.

The series was created and written by “Mad Men” alum Dahvi Waller and executive produced by Waller, Blanchett, Stacey Sher and Coco Francini. Production of the nine-episode limited series is scheduled for 2019 and it is produced by FX Productions with Waller serving as showrunner.

“I feel privileged to have this opportunity to collaborate with Dahvi, Stacey and Coco under the robust and fearless FX umbrella,” said Blanchett. “I am extremely excited about delving into the material as there couldn’t be a more appropriate time to peel back the layers of this recent period of history, which couldn’t be more relevant today.”