If movie studios won’t back women-led productions despite overwhelming evidence that audiences crave them, then TV is picking up the slack — and reaping the rewards. As HBO did with “Big Little Lies,” FX and Hulu have wrangled a magnificent cast of A-list actresses for Hulu’s most high-profile limited series to date, “Mrs. America.” One of the first collaborations under FX and Hulu’s new streaming deal, the series follows the anti-feminist crusader Phyllis Schlafly (Blanchett) in her fight against the feminist movement of the 1970s. The recently released trailer promises cutting remarks, fiery dispositions, and a powerhouse cast of actresses, including Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem.
The official synopsis reads: “Mrs. America recounts the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the unexpected backlash led by Phyllis Schlafly, aka “the sweetheart of the silent majority.” Through the eyes of the women of the era, the FX 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 the political landscape.”
Buttoned up in period-appropriate cardigan and skirt set, Blanchett opens the trailer with a measured and assured speech: “I am not against women. I am not against women working outside the home. But what I am against is the women’s liberation movement.” Cue the music, an aptly-placed “American Woman” by Lenny Kravitz, over shots of a formidable group of feminist icons played by the likes of Margo Martindale, Elizabeth Banks, Uzo Aduba, and Tracy Ullman. Sarah Paulson, John Slattery, James Marsden, Jeanne Tripplehorn, and Melanie Lynskey fill out the rest of the cast.
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Hulu and FX have assembled a directing team to match the heavy-hitting cast, with episodes directed by “Captain Marvel” directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, as well as Amma Asante (“Belle,” “A United Kingdom”). “Mrs. America” was created and written by Dahvi Waller, whose credits include a long stint on “Desperate Housewives” as well as episodes of critical darlings such as “Mad Men” and “Halt and Catch Fire.”
“Mrs. America” premieres April 15 exclusively for FX on Hulu. For a taste of this stylish feminist history lesson with a heaping dose of powerhouse performances, check out the trailer below.