Two-time Oscar winner stars in fact-based FX on Hulu drama
Q: How much does your depiction of Phyllis Schafly in “Mrs. America” take dramatic license?
A: Even if you’re in (Steven) Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” there’s a lot of invention there. You’ve got the letters, you’ve got the actual facts of what took place … but what went on behind the scenes, you have to invent. At a certain point, you have to go where the character fits into the story, because you are describing a particular movement in time.
I don’t believe in demonizing anybody, and (despite) my agreement or disagreement or my personal political persuasions, I couldn’t be less interested in folding into a character. The way you create ambiguity and juxtaposition in a character is to simply butt two very contradictory thoughts or actions together, and then present it to an audience. We are all full of contradictions and hypocrisies. No one is perfect, including Phyllis — although her hair was mostly always perfect. But it is a challenge, I think, when you are playing a figure who is so polarizing.
Q: What do you think Schlafly’s ultimate contribution to equal rights in America was?
A: Phyllis and her army really did bring together a whole disparate section of the religious community. She brought the Baptists together with the Evangelicals, with the Catholics and Anglicans and the Conservative Jewish community. And she united them around the issue of the Equal Rights Amendment, and what it would mean to what she saw as a breakdown of the American family.
She saw that the Bible describes the virtuous woman, and she truly believed that women were stronger than men and then actually held the fabric of American society by holding the household together. And then, further from that, she brought them together what was to become the pro-life plank.
Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.