Marisa Tomei has reportedly signed on to play Gloria Steinem for an HBO miniseries called Ms., which is the story of the feminist icon’s early days with Ms. Magazine and how it affected the lives of many women during the feminist movement.
According to TV Guide, Tomei recently signed a deal with HBO to produce and star in several projects, and on this one she’ll team up once again with George Clooney, who is co-executive producing alongside Bruce Cohen (Silver Linings Playbook). The duo last worked together on the political thriller The Ides Of March, in which Tomei played a reporter. Kathy Najimy is also on board, taking the role of Steinem’s best friend, U.S. Rep. Bella Abzug.
Steinem and a team of her friends started Ms. in the early ’70s, a time when women were not expected (or, in many cases, allowed) to take on the male-driven jobs in the publishing industry. Even for magazines that catered exclusively to women, men made up most of the staff. The stories that did come from women were expected to be about fashion, makeup, or how to keep a man happy; politics and other civil issues were out.
“When I suggested political stories to The New York Times Sunday Magazine, my editor just said something like, ‘I don’t think of you that way,’ ” Steinem told New York Magazine.
Ms. contributor Jane O’Reilly said that when Steinem gathered her team to brainstorm topics for the magazine, the excitement was almost palpable.
“People were sitting on the floor, on chairs, hanging from rafters. When it came to all the topics proposed, it struck me as being like your first trip to Europe: You think you have to go to every single country because you might never get to go back,” O’Reilly said.
The first issue of the magazine sold out in just eight days, a fact which is sure to be covered in the miniseries, though it’s not clear how far into Steinem’s life the show will go. Marisa Tomei will be executive producing the series as well as starring.