Felicity Jones, who portrays Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in ‘On the Basis of Sex’, tells HollywoodLife that there’s more work to be done on women’s rights, especially during the Me Too era. She explains how we can move forward!
Felicity Jones, 35, arguably plays her most pivotal role yet in On the Basis of Sex — a dramatic biographical film focusing on the determined crusade of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85, (played by Jones) to win equal rights for women when she was a lawyer and law professor. And, even though the film documents her first critical battle to establish the legal principle that there should be gender equality, in 1972, the story of her quest for equality for women is more timely than ever in today’s social and political climate. The film — a biopic also starring Armie Hammer (as Ruth’s husband Martin Ginsburg, a top tax attorney), Justin Theroux (as Mel Wulf, the ACLU’s former legal director), and Kathy Bates (as Dorothy Kenyon, a pioneering equal rights attorney) — hits theaters on Christmas Day.
After having researched the role and stepping into Ginsburg’s shoes, Jones admitted that the now Supreme Court justice’s mission isn’t finished. “I think it’s about how the fight continues,” she told HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY. “We really have to fight to protect those rights, and what Justice Ginsburg tried to do was to make sure that the laws she changed couldn’t be reversed.”
Jones also asserted that Ginsburg’s story and mission remain extremely relevant today. “But, even now, we see with the Me Too Movement, it’s still as strong as ever,” she said. “We have to continue to protect those equal rights for the future.”
On the Basis of Sex director Mimi Leder also told HollywoodLife that the film resonates with current social and political events. “Because of everything that is going on, it’s a super important time. It’s more timely than ever to tell this story of Justice Ginsburg in her early years,” Leder explained.
“So much has changed and so little hasn’t changed and she’s a woman who used her voice and her smarts to change the culture and she made the country a freer and better place for us [women]. With this poisonous environment that we’re living in now, we need her voice and everyone’s voice more than ever to speak their truth.”
Now, Leder wants people to take away this message after seeing the film. “Use your voice — to change your country, to change your life. Use your voice to make a change, big or small and don’t let anybody tell you you can’t make change.”
Felicity Jones at the red carpet premiere of new film, ‘On the Basis of Sex’ in New York City on December 16, 2018.
On the Basis of Sex follows Ginsburg’s hard fought journey to become a lawyer fighting and winning equal rights for women. The biopic introduces Ginsburg as one of just nine female students in her class of 500 at Harvard Law School during the 1950s. It explores her path through law school, as well as the beyond challenging time when she was attending her husband’s classes, on top of her own while he battled testicular cancer. Her husband, Martin Ginsburg, was a year ahead of her in Harvard Law School, and she devotedly audited his classes and took notes so that he could keep up with his work while fighting his potentially terminal illness.
With incredible strength, endurance and smarts, Ginsburg managed to do it all, and we catch glimpses of her personal life throughout the film. Ultimately, Ruth and Martin raised their two children while they launched their legal careers. She had to teach at Rutgers University because no New York City law firm would hire a woman. The film focuses on the first gender equality case she took on and won because it changed the course of history and the trajectory of her career.
Ginsburg also makes a short cameo in the film’s final scene. She appears walking up the steps to the Supreme Court in a royal blue coat, as audio from her most monumental judicial moments plays in the background. “I ask no favor for my sex,” Ginsburg’s voice can be heard as the screen eventually fades to black. “All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.”
As you may or may not know, Ginsburg, now 85, is a co-founder of the American Civil Liberty Union’s Women’s Rights Project. Today, she sits on the Supreme Court, after being nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993. And, she has no intention of retiring!