June 24, 2022 will forever be etched into our minds as a day that the US Supreme Court decided to send America backward by overturning Roe v Wade, in the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. Making federal abortion illegal on a federal level and sending all abortion laws back to the states, putting many pregnant people’s lives in jeopardy, is a terrifying thought, based on what we know of history in pre-Roe days.
But there is a lot we can learn from history, which can also give us comfort in the days and years ahead in this new landscape. Before Roe v Wade was decided in 1973, there was a secretive underground organization helping women access abortion care from doctors, and some members even training to perform abortions themselves. The history of the Jane collective can now be seen in a new feature film, starring Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver and Kate Mara.
Directed by “Carol” screenwriter Phyllis Nagy, produced by Robbie Brenner (“Dallas Buyers Club”), and written by Hayley Schore & Roshan Sethi, “Call Jane” is based on the real life story of the Jane Collective. The film follows Joy (Banks), a 1960s housewife who unexpectedly falls pregnant when she meets The Janes and finds her newfound purpose to help women take control of their destinies. The film premiered at Sundance in January of 2022, before becoming more timely than ever a few months later with the overturn of Roe in June.
Coming to theaters October 28, the film also features Emmy-nominated actress Bianca D’Ambrosio, who plays Kate Mara’s daughter, Erin in the film who has previously been seen on ‘The Young and the Restless’, ‘Parks and Rec’, ‘Criminal Minds’ and more. She and her twin sister Chiara have a very popular social media following, documenting their careers on Instagram and Youtube where they have over 12 million views of their videos!
We had the chance to interview Bianca as she and the cast gear up for the release of this powerful film, which she hopes will remind audiences, especially Gen Z, that the fight for choice is more important than ever.
We are excited for the release of ‘Call Jane’, which feels more timely than ever given the overturn of Roe v Wade in June. What are you most excited about audiences seeing in this film?
I am most excited for people to see an extremely well-directed, well-written and well-acted film that speaks to women’s rights. Under the direction of Phyllis Nagy, the audience will experience the struggle that women endured pre-Roe vs. Wade and apparently will again.
How did you get involved in the film and secure the role of Erin?
Due to COVID, casting was done by direct bookings or video auditions. For me, I sent in a reel of my work, then I was asked to send in a video audition. The story was so compelling that it was a tremendous honor to have been selected to join an extraordinary cast that included Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver, Chris Messina and Kate Mara.
What is Erin’s story in the film, and what can we look forward to seeing in your Character?
Erin is Kate Mara’s character’s daughter. Erin’s father died several years earlier and she spends most of her time with Elizabeth’s family as her mother has developed an alcohol problem. Erin sees Elizabeth’s character as her role model more than her actual mother.
We have seen a few short and feature documentaries in recent years about the Janes, who helped women across America get abortions before it was legal. Did you know about the history of the Janes before getting involved in the project?
No, I did not. I learned about the Janes during filming “Call Jane.” Our movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this past January. Coincidentally, a documentary called “The Janes” premiered at Sundance as well. I watched the documentary and was amazed at what these women endured and accomplished.
Given we are now in a post-Roe America, what kind of impact do you think ‘Call Jane’ will have on audiences?
I hope that it has an enormous impact. “Call Jane” is a period piece from fifty years ago that portrays women fighting for the right to choose their health care option. For fifty years, women have had this right. Now, it is gone. It is hard to believe that we have gone so far backwards in regard to women’s rights. I know that we filmed “Call Jane” to take place in the 1960’s but we could have easily filmed it to take place in 2022 because the struggle for choice has resurfaced.
What was it like being on set with such iconic women like Elizabeth Banks, Kate Mara and Sigourney Weaver?
I was lucky enough to have scenes with Elizabeth and Kate but not Sigourney. Elizabeth and Kate are fierce, strong women and tremendous actors. They were approachable between takes and definitely role models for any young actor starting out.
Can you share any of the on-set conversations you had with the other actresses about reproductive rights and abortion access?
When we shot “Call Jane,” we were focused on making a movie about the accomplishments of The Janes as a historical piece. At that time, the thought that Roe v. Wade would be overturned was not a topic of conversation. It was unfathomable. I guarantee if we shot “Call Jane” in 2022, our conversations would take an even more passionate direction.
What does it mean to you to be in such a powerful film like this, and how has it impacted your own view of abortion access and reproductive rights in America today?
I was raised in a Christian family. Views about topics such as premarital sex and abortion were fairly rigid from a religious perspective. “Call Jane” was an eye-opener for me because it taught me about choice, true choice. I can choose not to have premarital sex or an abortion, that is my choice. I am entitled to my choice. Every woman is entitled to her choice whether it aligns with my choice or not. Choice is private and personal and should not be judged or open to infiltration.
How do you hope today’s generation, especially Gen Z, will receive this film and think about reproductive rights going forward?
Gen Z was born into a world where women’s reproductive rights were protected by Roe v. Wade. They know of no other world. As Gen Z women reach the age where they may need to make a choice, they will be shocked and appalled to see that choice has been stripped away. I hope that when Gen Z sees “Call Jane,” they will grasp the reality that, from a women’s rights perspective, we are living, once again, in the late 1960’s and the fight for choice is happening now.
You are an Emmy Nominated actress having appeared in some of our fave shows (including ‘Parks and Rec’ and ‘Criminal Minds’). Along with the release of ‘Call Jane’, what other upcoming projects can we see you in?
“Call Jane” premieres in late October and my twin sister, Chiara, and I will be appearing in “High Heat” starring Olga Kuryenko and Don Johnson, scheduled for a December release. We are in post-production for a RZA-produced horror film, “Nyctophobia,” and, of course, watch the next season of “The Bay,” coming soon.
Check your local listings to catch a screening of ‘Call Jane’ when it is released on October 28 in the US. You can follow Bianca (and her twin sister Chiara!) on Instagram and subscribe to their Youtube Channel.