Home Columns Deep Inside Hollywood Cate Blanchett Fights Feminism in ‘Mrs. America,’ Bob Mackie Documentary

Cate Blanchett Fights Feminism in ‘Mrs. America,’ Bob Mackie Documentary

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History lesson time, kids! In the 1970s there was a proposed change to the Constitution called the Equal Rights Amendment. It failed to be ratified, and a major reason for that failure was conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly. It was an ugly battle, made uglier by the lies and distortions that conservatives told about the passage of the amendment. They whipped up fear and it worked.

Now FX will present a limited series, Mrs. America, to remind America what was lost. In a stroke of near-perfect casting, Schlafly will be played by Cate Blanchett, and a host of other historical figures by an A-list roster: Uzo Aduba as Shirley Chisholm, Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem, Margo Martindale as Bella Abzug, Tracey Ullman as Betty Friedan, as well as Sarah Paulson, Ari Graynor, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Melanie Lynskey, James Marsden and John Slattery. Schlafly was an early spark that lit the flame of the Religious Right’s ascendance in the 1980s, so get ready to be depressed when it airs in 2020.

Valentino, McQueen, YSL, Halston, Diana Vreeland, Andre Leon Talley, and the entire September issue of Vogue magazine: they’ve all had documentaries made about them. And if you’re fashion doc devotees like us you’ve spent your days wondering when the legendary Bob Mackie, costume designer for Cher, Carol Burnett and countless others, would get his turn to shine for posterity. Well, that time is now, and it’s coming right on schedule, as the man receives his lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America; finds himself Tony Award-nominated for The Cher Show; and gets to see his own creations duplicated on screen in the Elton John musical biopic Rocketman. It’s a good moment to be Mackie, and the upcoming untitled doc, from filmmaker Matthew Miele, director of Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s, will dive deep into the designer’s flashy past. But we’ll all have to wait a bit longer: it’s slated for a December 2020 release, a holiday gift for any post-election blues that might need a lift.

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