When we look back at 2015 and raise our glasses in a toast, it’ll be hard not cheers to the strides made for women’s rights. We’ve got ladies with a real chance to win the presidency, our Hollywood stars speaking out about the gender pay gap—thanks, JLaw—and role models like Demi Lovato encouraging women to be confident. As much as female voices are being heard, there are still ambitions in the movement waiting for action. With Suffragette out this month, focusing on the fight to attain the female vote in Britain, we’re reminded of feminism’s roots. It was the Suffragettes that motivated the fight for America’s 19th Amendment. The movie, although set in early 20th-Century Britain, draws many parallels between the feminist movement today. By visiting our past, it’s not hard to find inspiration for our future.
NYLON had a chance to sit down with the team behind Suffragette—one that’s entirely female. Director Sarah Gavron, writer Abi Morgan, and producers Alison Owen and Faye Ward opened up to us about the challenges of getting the movie made and why it’s relevant today. Gavron and Morgan have been on the rise as filmmakers in Britain, while we have Owen and Ward to thank for other badass female-driven films like The Other Boleyn Girl and Jane Eyre.
Suffragette is lead by Carey Mulligan, who plays Maude, a foot solider that risks both her family and freedom for equality. Gavron revealed that they had Mulligan in mind for six years as the film came to fruition. Like always, her performance is stirring. “She really steeped herself in the research. She works incredibly hard! It all looks effortless,” Gavron says. Helena Bonham Carter co-stars as Edith Ellyn, a character based closely on Edith Garrud. Garrud is known for training Suffragettes in jiu jitsu and encouraging a more militant attitude among the women. Meryl Streep also brings to life Suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst. “We wanted this iconic actor to play that role, and Carey actually suggested her and we thought, Do we dare approach her? She has a gravitas and she believes in women’s rights profoundly,” says Gavron.