Call Jane (2022) Production Notes

Director: Phyllis Nagy
Writer(s): Hayley Schore, Roshan Sethi
Main Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver, Chris Messina, Kate Mara, Wunmi Mosaku, Cory Michael Smith
Genre: Drama
Release Date: 2022-10-28
Runtime: 122 mins. / 2 h 2 m

Chicago, 1968. As the city and the nation are poised on the brink of political upheaval, suburban housewife Joy (Elizabeth Banks) leads an ordinary life with her husband and daughter. When Joy’s pregnancy leads to a life-threatening heart condition, she must navigate an all-male medical establishment unwilling to terminate her pregnancy in order to save her life. Her journey for a solution leads her to Virginia (Sigourney Weaver), an independent visionary fiercely committed to women’s health, and Gwen (Wunmi Mosaku), an activist who dreams of a day when all women will have access to abortion, regardless of their ability to pay. Joy is so inspired by their work, she decides to join forces with them, putting every aspect of her life on the line.

Please note: Some production notes may contain spoilers.

Call Jane was made for these times. We need only to look to the decades before Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruled to legalize abortion, to get a sense of how the status of women could change if that ruling is overturned - and it could be. Abortion was once a criminal act in every state. The authorities punished women for not managing their sexuality and fertility in ways the government, law enforcement, and medical and religious institutions approved. Call Jane centers itself in the true story of the “Janes,” an underground collective of women, who in Chicago during the 1960s, came together to secretly provide nearly 12,000 women and girls with safe and secure abortions.

The film is seen through the eyes of Joy (Elizabeth Banks), a suburban wife, and mother to a whip-smart teenage daughter. Joy's happy life, filled with caring for her family and sharing confidences with her best friend, Lana (Kate Mara), is derailed when her much wanted pregnancy becomes life threatening. Joy and her husband, Will (Chris Messina), meet with a board of male doctors to request a termination of the pregnancy, the only way to obtain a legal abortion at the time. When the doctors unanimously refuse, telling Joy she must take her chances, Will becomes despondent. And Joy, now desperate, and afraid she won't live to see her daughter into adulthood, stumbles upon the Janes. Led by the committed and compassionate Virginia (Sigourney Weaver), the group saves her life, and much to her surprise, also gives her a sense of purpose. While Will is at work and her daughter Charlotte is at school, Joy begins to secretly join the Janes at their safe-house, and her life as an activist begins. At first, her furtive excursions to help other women, or to joust with the group's lone medical provider, Dr. Dean (Cory Michael Smith), go undetected, but when her actions begin to collide with her traditional role at home, she must decide who to let in and who to let go of. Call Jane stars: Elizabeth Banks (Mrs. America.

The Hunger Games, Pitch Perfect), Sigourney Weaver (Avatar, Alien, The Meyerowitz Stories, Ghostbusters), Kate Mara (House of 3 Cards, The Martian, Chappaquiddick), Chris Messina (The Secrets We Keep, The Sinner, The Mindy Project), Wunmi Mosaku (Loki, Lovecraft Country, Luther), Aida Turturro (The Blacklist, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Sopranos), and Cory Michael Smith (Utopia, Gotham, First Man). The film is directed by Phyllis Nagy (Carol, Mrs. Harris, So Much Love). The writers are Hayley Schore (The Resident, Code Black) and Roshan Sethi (7 Days, The Resident, Code Black), and the film is produced by Robbie Brenner (Burden, The Dallas Buyers Club), Kevin McKeon (Burden, The Dallas Buyers Club) and David Wulf (The Card Counter, Inheritance).