The biopic explores Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s journey to becoming a Supreme Court justice.
All rise for Ruth Bader Ginsburg. On the Basis of Sex details the Supreme Court justice’s early days studying and practicing law amid sexism and discrimination, and an A-list cast is primed to bring each key player’s role in Ginsburg’s journey to the big screen.
With The Theory of Everything and Rogue One‘s Felicity Jones at the lead, the Focus Features film, directed by Mimi Leder, delves into the 1971 Reed v. Reed case, in which Ginsburg argued for equal protection under the law for men and women. And in doing so, the project also highlights the unequal treatment Ginsburg received as a woman pursuing justice.
In anticipation of the biopic, which hits theaters Dec. 25, The Hollywood Reporter breaks down who’s playing whom.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, portrayed by Felicity Jones
Before Bill Clinton appointed Ginsburg as the second-ever female Supreme Court justice, Ginsburg had to break several barriers on her path to America’s most coveted bench. As a student, Ginsburg was one of few women invited to study law at Harvard University. There, Ginsburg reportedly faced gender-based discrimination, and she ultimately transferred to Columbia Law School when her husband, Marty Ginsburg, moved to New York City. By the end of her time at Columbia, Ginsburg graduated at the top of her class.
By the 1970s, Ginsburg had become the first woman to be published in multiple major law reviews and co-founded the first law journal advocating for women’s rights, as well as the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. Recently, Ginsburg’s legacy has moved into the Hollywood spotlight with the success of the CNN documentary RBG. “I did see myself as kind of a kindergarten teacher in those days,” Ginsburg told NBC’s Today, looking back on her early days as a judge. “The judges didn’t think sex discrimination existed.”
Jones, who scored a best actress Oscar nomination in 2015 for The Theory of Everything and recently starred in Disney’s Rogue One, takes on the feminist role, portraying Ginsburg in the early days of her law education and career.
“I kept thinking of her in the vein of Rocky — in a boxing movie — because she is such a fighter,” Jones told MTV. “She gets knocked down, but she gets right back up again, so that was my inspiration when I’d go into work.”