“You want to end up in prison?” Elizabeth Banks is asked in a new trailer for “Call Jane.” The “Hunger Games” alumna toplines the historical drama from Oscar-nominated “Carol” screenwriter Phyllis Nagy. Based on true events, the Sundance pic is set in 1968 and sees Banks playing Joy, a suburban housewife whose life gets turned upside down when her pregnancy leads to a life-threatening heart condition. Denied an emergency termination and desperate for help, Joy resorts to calling a number she finds on a flyer. The folks on the other end of the line coordinate a life-saving abortion for Joy, and she’s eventually introduced to Virginia (Sigourney Weaver, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife”) and Gwen (Wunmi Mosaku, “Loki”), activists who are assisting countless others like Joy.
Inspired by Virginia and Gwen, Joy joins forces with them, risking imprisonment to fight for reproductive rights and helping those who need abortions. “You have a knack for this. Could have been a nurse,” she’s told. “Could have been a doctor,” Joy replies.
Virginia realizes that their system isn’t perfect. “But we are of use,” she emphasizes. “I’m not scared of jail. I’m scared there won’t be anyone left to answer the phone.”
“Call Jane” is inspired by the real-life Jane Collective, an underground abortion network run by women in pre-Roe v. Wade Chicago.
Nagy helmed the pic, which is penned by Hayley Schore and Roshan Sethi.
“My hope is that ‘Call Jane’ surprises people, that it in some way confounds preconceived ideas audiences might have about what a narrative that deals with women’s rights, with choice, and particularly with abortion, can be,” Nagy told us. “To make one person’s thinking shift in even a tiny way would delight me.”
An HBO doc about the Jane Collective, Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes’ “The Janes,” launched in June.
Stories about the Jane Collective have become terrifyingly timely in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned. A coalition of women TV showrunners and creators is currently demanding abortion safety plans from studios.
“Call Jane” hits theaters October 28.