Dee Rees’ Next Film “Uncivil War” Will Tell Story of the Equal Rights Amendment

Dee Rees: GoldDerby/YouTube

Dee Rees is on a roll. Less than a week after news surfaced that the “Pariah” director would helm an adaptation of a Joan Didion’s “The Last Thing He Wanted,” Deadline has confirmed that Rees will also direct “An Uncivil War” for FilmNation Entertainment. The Equal Rights Amendment drama is set to begin production in early 2018.

According to the source, “An Uncivil War” will focus on “the explosive battle to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, which rallied feminist icon Gloria Steinem and legendary lawyer/activist Florynce ‘Flo’ Kennedy, and other leaders of the Women’s movement to action against conservative organizer Phyllis Schlafly.” Rees re-wrote David Kukoff’s original screenplay.

The Equal Rights Amendment, (Era), was created to guarantee legal equality for women and men. The amendment passed in the House and the Senate in 1972 but failed to be ratified in the needed 38 states by the 1979 deadline. The backlash and eventual failure of the Era can be traced back to Schlafly, who somehow convinced much of the public that equal rights would actually set women back. To this day the Era has not been integrated into the U.S. constitution. There have been a few attempts to revive the Era over the years, the most recent being Meryl Streep’s 2015 appeal to Congress.

“I’m particularly interested in digging into the messiness of the women’s movement — the many different alliances that were formed and fractured and exploring who got left behind versus who got remembered,” Rees explained. “The richness and texture of this story lie in the complicated bargains struck and broken in the imperfect, stuttering trajectory toward equality. Thrilled that FilmNation let me put my own spin on the script and I’m going to have a lot of fun putting together another amazing ensemble cast to ignite it.”

Information that we have is that Gloria Steinem is not involved in this project, and that gives us pause.

In addition to “Uncivil War” and the Didion adaptation, Rees is developing a horror movie about a black lesbian couple living in a rural town with “Get Out” producer Jason Blum. Her latest feature, “Mudbound,” scored the biggest deal out of Sundance, with Netflix paying $12.5 million for the ensemble drama. Set in rural Mississippi, the story follows two young men, one black and one white, as they return from WWII to work on a farm. The cast includes Garrett Hedlund (“Unbroken”), Jason Mitchell (“Detroit”), Carey Mulligan (“Suffragette”), and Mary J. Blige (“The Wiz Live!”). “Mudbound” will launch on Netflix and select theaters November 17.

Another Steinem-centric project in the works is Julie Taymor’s adaptation of the feminist leader’s memoir “My Life on the Road.” Steinem is exec producing the Sarah Ruhl-penned project.

Dee Rees’ Next Film “Uncivil War” Will Tell Story of the Equal Rights Amendment was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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