Felicity Jones On How She Became The Notorious RBG In On The Basis Of Sex

Credit: EntertainmentOne

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of the most iconic justices of the US Supreme Court. It is no surprise that she has reached almost a rockstar status across the US.

It was only a matter of time until her inspiring life was being told on the big screen and On the Basis of Sex is the biopic about RBG we’ve all been waiting for.

The movie stars Felicity Jones as a young Bader Ginsberg, who is fighting against gender discrimination in the 1950s and 1960s. Armie Hammer stars opposite Jones as Bader Ginsburg’s husband Marty Ginsburg.

It was at Marty Ginsburg’s funeral, when Daniel Stiepleman, RBG’s nephew, thought about adapting Bader Ginsburg’s life for the big screen, as he recently shared with The Hollywood Reporter.

That was in 2010 and it took him several more years until the project began to go anywhere. In the early days, they had Natalie Portman attached to the project. However, she later dropped out and thus, made room for Felicity Jones, who bears a striking resemblance to the justice .

After having sent her the script, though, the producer Robert Cort got worried that Jones might not even know who RBG is, as the actress is British. He recalls calling director Mimi Leder and asking her if she thought she knew if Jones knew who RBG was.

It turns out though that Cort had no reason to be worried, as Jones knew who she was supposed to portray:

“I knew she was a punk icon,” says Jones with a laugh. “I loved the story about a woman who didn’t like the way the world was run, so she got angry and decided to change it.”

After Jones, Armie Hammer was cast and the two went to Washington, DC to meet Ginsburg in her chambers, something Jones recalls vividly: “I felt as if I should bow.”

In order to look more like Ginsburg, even though Jones already did to a great extent, she wore colored contacts and had her teeth capped. In addition, she trained to speak in RBG’s Brooklyn accent, receiving intensive training from a dialect coach.

A lot of dedication went into the portrayal of RBG and in order to deliver the final speech in the court, Jones had memorized the six-page speech by heart, delivering it in one take. She managed to complete the speech without missing a word, which earned her an applause from the crew.

“The crew was quiet and then broke into applause,” remembers Cort.

On the Basis of Sex has been out since Christmas Day 2018, so if you haven’t seen Jones deliver the speech yet, you should do so asap.

Anna Hattingen

25 year old college student with a passion for Netflix & Chill and exploring the world (but not at the same time), currently based in London and enjoying life.
Anna Hattingen