For “Good Girls Revolt” creator Dana Calvo, it was never a question of whether the story of a band of magazine research girls suing for equal employment opportunities in the 1960s would be relevant.
But Calvo couldn’t have anticipated some of the developments that would make her series a vital part of a national conversation, like the Republican presidential nominee being accused of sexual misconduct by an increasing number of women.
“Twenty-seven months ago, it was more like, Amy Schumer was just busting out of the comedy scene and everyone was making noise about hiring more women directors,” Calvo told Variety at the “Good Girls Revolt” premiere event on Tuesday evening in New York City at the Joseph Urban Theater at Hearst Tower. “But this toxic campaign tenor has, in a way, provided this relief map for the stories we’re trying to tell now.”
Star Anna Camp had a similar reaction. “It’s definitely super weird,” she told Variety. “We didn’t know Donald Trump was going to make this more relevant — and that’s not a good thing.”
“Good Girls Revolt” is Amazon’s latest original series, from TriStar TV and Amazon Studios. It’s based on the real-life tale of the women of Newsweek in the late 1960s.
At Newsweek, researchers put together reporting files for their reporters, who then wrote the stories. Reporters were exclusively men, until a group of female researchers, spurred on by civil rights activist and lawyer Eleanor Holmes Norton, demanded the same opportunities as their male counterparts. They sued Newsweek — and won.
The kind of discrimination faced by the women of Newsweek in 1969 is still around, Camp continued. “I’m always reading great scripts where there are, like, seven awesome parts for boys, and two parts for girls, and both of them are half-naked,” she said.
But perhaps worse still, Camp said, was realizing we now live in a society where the man who could become the leader of the free world feels comfortable spewing “some of the lewdest things I’ve ever heard anyone say.”
Camp co-stars with Erin Darke, Genevieve Angelson, Hunter Parrish, Chris Diamantopoulos, and a host of others. But it’s not only actors’ names that might sound familiar to viewers, as some of the characters are plucked straight from real life — Grace Gummer plays Nora Ephron and Joy Bryant plays Eleanor Holmes Norton.
Reflecting the monochromatic news magazine environment of the late ’60s, Bryant is the only member of the main cast who’s a person of color. Bryant told Variety she’s used to that. “I mean I’ve always been one of the few,” she said. “But that’s part of this story: The fact that these white women who are privileged and middle class had no idea that they were part of this fight. And it took a sister to let them know that.”
If it feels at times like we’re not so far removed from those days of de rigueur sexual harassment and unequal employment, though, Calvo has some words of comfort: “I think it’s growing pains,” she said. “Whenever you expose things, it’s painful, but let’s shine some sunlight on this. It just takes a regular person standing up for themselves and living with integrity.”
All 10 episodes of the first season of “Good Girls Revolt” will debut on Amazon Prime Video on Oct. 28.