Cate Blanchett is taking on perhaps one of the most hated roles in history. A new original series coming to BBC Two will portray the rise and reign of Phyllis Schlafly, a 60s and 70s conservative movement leader who fought against feminism, abortion, and the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Schlafly passed away in 2016, but she leaves behind a legacy so contentious that only a full TV series could do it justice, and the trailer is almost too hard to watch.
"We want the right to be a mother, the right to be a wife," she declares in the trailer, fighting to prevent America from "a sex neutral feminist totalitarian nightmare."
A star-studded cast brings the full scope of this moment in history back to life, with Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem, Uzo Aduba as first Black woman elected to United States Congress Shirley Chisholm, Elizabeth Banks a activist Jill Ruckelshaus, Margo Martindale as Congresswoman Bella Abzug, and Tracey Ullman as Betty Friedan, a co-founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus.
"We are a political movement, not a sorority," Byrne says in the trailer.
Over on Schlafly's side of things, Sarah Paulson plays an ally of the anti-feminist movement, and John Slattery plays Schlafly's husband, John. That makes sense, because the series is written by another Mad Men alum, Dahvi Waller.
The show will explore how the push for progressive values, race, and internal conflict affected the women's movement in America, and also features Blanchett in her first ever TV role. The series will be part of the BBC's ongoing content partnership with US TV channel FX, with the air date for the series still to be confirmed.
Watch the full trailer below.