In the first trailer for the drama, Call Jane, Elizabeth Banks plays a woman whose dangerous pregnancy leads her to seek an illegal abortion as she ultimately joins forces with the underground Jane collective in 1968 Chicago.
The film, which premiered at Sundance, has become even more timely since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion and allowing states to regulate the procedure.
Directed by Phyllis Nagy and inspired by true events, Call Jane stars Banks as suburban housewife Joy, whose pregnancy leads to a life-threatening heart condition. Told that the only treatment is “to not be pregnant” but facing barriers to that procedure, Joy stumbles across an ad for Jane, the clandestine Chicago group that helped women obtain safe, affordable abortions in the late ’60s and early ’70s when the procedure was a crime in Illinois and other states.
After soliciting the services of the group, Joy joins forces with the group, who in the trailer appear to be run by Sigourney Weaver’s Virginia and Wunmi Mosaku’s Gwen.
The trailer shows the group going through messages from women seeking abortions, including an 11-year-old, a woman with cancer and one who was raped.
After someone says it’s “life or death for some of them,” Mosaku’s Gwen clarifies, “It’s life or death for all of them.”
Later, Virginia is shown saying, “We have something that works. We are of use. Yeah, it’s not perfect, but it works. I’m not scared of jail. I’m scared there won’t be anyone left to answer the phone.”
The film comes after The Janes documentary, which debuted on HBO in June, told the story of the group through firsthand accounts from its members. Seven of the Jane members were arrested and charged with abortion and conspiracy to commit abortion after a police raid in 1972, but the case was ultimately dropped after Roe v. Wade made abortion legal nationwide.
The cast of Call Jane features Chris Messina, Kate Mara, Cory Michael Smith, Grace Edwards and John Magaro.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s Call Jane review describes the film as “a beautifully wrought portrait of ladies on fire.”
The Roadside Attractions film, in theaters Oct. 28, was written by Hayley Schore and Roshan Sethi. The movie is produced by Robbie Brenner, David Wulf and Kevin McKeon.