×

Last week’s L.A. premiere of “Call Jane” doubled as a benefit for the local chapter of Planned Parenthood, and with the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade on many attendees’ minds, speakers such as Gloria Allred, Sigourney Weaver and Elizabeth Banks urged those in the audience to vote for pro-choice candidates in the upcoming election. But for producer Robbie Brenner, Roadside Attractions’ Oct. 28 release of “Call Jane” also marks the end of a seven-year journey to get the indie film into theaters.

Now executive VP of Mattel’s film division, Brenner boarded the project — which traces a Chicago housewife’s political awakening following a back-alley abortion in 1968 — when “Call Jane” producer Kevin McKeon handed her the 2017 Black List script by Hayley Schore and Roshan Sethi. Together with a village of collaborators, she helped shepherd the production through various twists and turns: Phyllis Nagy, Oscar-nominated writer of “Carol,” directed; Banks stars opposite Weaver, who plays the leader of the real-life Call Jane collective helping women get safe abortions pre-Roe v. Wade.

Amid all the production changes, the climate for abortion rights worsened around the country.

“This gave it even more urgency to do,” says Brenner, who previously waged a long battle to get “Dallas Buyers Club” to the screen. “Looking at 1968 to 2022, really nothing has changed other than the cars we drive or the hairstyles or clothes we wear. We are regressing in our rights.”

Prior to the L.A. bow on Oct. 20, Allred recounted her own harrowing back-alley abortion in the 1960s and urged the Skirball Cultural Center crowd to help all communities fight to ensure this reproductive right.

“We need to get the word out: Vote for pro-choice candidates as though your life depends on it,” Allred said. “Because it does.”

Brenner, now focused on developing films such as “Barbie” and “Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots,” has largely left the exhausting indie world behind. But she has remained committed to this project throughout its long journey.

“It’s just a sad and scary time,” Brenner says a few days after the premiere. “I feel bad for my daughters.”