Roadside Attractions has acquired U.S. distribution rights to “Call Jane,” a historical drama about a group of women working to provide access to safe abortions.
The film debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, premiering at a time when the Supreme Court is debating Roe v. Wade and with it the future of reproductive rights. Roadside plans a Fall 2022 theatrical release for the film, which means it could hit cinemas after Roe has been overturned and several states have moved to make abortion illegal. “Call Jane” is the feature directorial debut of Phyllis Nagy, who was nominated for an Oscar for her script for “Carol.”
Set in 1968, the film follows a suburban housewife Joy (Elizabeth Banks). When her pregnancy leads to a life-threatening heart condition, Joy 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.
Variety‘s Peter Debruge gave a mixed review of the movie, writing, “The female empowerment message comes through loud and clear in ‘Call Jane,’ especially in Banks’ performance. What’s missing from the picture is the threat of discovery, the dangling sword of Damocles that might chasten anyone taking so much responsibility on themselves.”
The film also stars Chris Messina, Kate Mara, Cory Michael Smith, Grace Edwards, and John Magaro. The film is written by Hayley Schore and Roshan Sethi and produced by Robbie Brenner, David Wulf, and Kevin McKeon. Additional producers include Lee Broda, Claude Amadeo, and Michael D’Alto and executive producers include Peter Touche, Christelle Conan, Judy Bart, Erica Kahn, Chris Triana, Randall B. Sandler, Joseph Lanius, Leal Naim, Michelle Campbell Mason, Jeffrey Hecktman, Patricia Lawley, Iris Smith, Gretchen Sisson, Amanda Kiely, Tai Lopez, Thomas Burke, and Jeff Rice.
Roadside’s list of credits includes “Hello, My Name is Doris,” “A Most Wanted Man” and “Margin Call.” The indie studio also recently bought “Emily The Criminal,” another Sundance entry.
“Phyllis Nagy’s brilliant film is inspiring, fierce, and so relevant for our times,” Roadside Attractions’ Co-Presidents Howard Cohen & Eric d’Arbeloff said in a statement. ”Elizabeth Banks, in a powerful and moving performance, along with the masterful Sigourney Weaver, lead an extraordinary cast to deliver an unforgettable story of women who challenge the power structure to support one another and do what they think is right.”
Cohen negotiated on behalf of Roadside Attractions and UTA Independent Film Group negotiated on behalf of the filmmakers.
Protagonist Pictures has international distribution rights.