the industry

Hollywood Producers Originally Wanted an Angry Martin Ginsburg for RBG Movie

Photo: Jonathan Wenk/Focus Features

If we were to analyze the billions of men who have walked this earth over the millennia, Martin Ginsburg would probably be sandwiched in-between Mahatma Gandhi and Tom Petty in the top one percent: His vocal, unflinching support of his wife, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and her burgeoning law career made him a feminist hero in the 1970s, back when “feminist hero” just … wasn’t a thing for men to own up to. And, as it turns out, some Y-chromosome Hollywood folk still have a problem with that lack of braggadocio. In a New York Times article published today, the minds behind On the Basis of Sex admitted that they initially had difficulty getting funding for the film because executives wanted Ginsburg to be “rewritten as angrier or less understanding,” perhaps with a side plot of him threatening to divorce his wife due to her work.

“It came up a lot,” Daniel Stiepleman, Ginsburg’s nephew and the film’s screenwriter, recalled. “I remember at some point saying in a meeting, ‘There’s a 5,000-year history of narrative, of men coming home from battle, and their wives patch them up and boost their egos and send them back out to fight again.’ You write one supportive husband, and everyone’s like, such a creature could never exist!” They ultimately found a studio to accommodate their (reasonable) request of not altering history, with Armie Hammer cast as a very dashing Ginsburg — a role that gave him a refreshing reprieve from negativity. “I think that there is a lot to be gained from seeing that a man can be an even better and stronger man, while still being an incredibly supportive husband and a buttress for his wife,” he told the Times. “It didn’t make him any less of a man. If anything, it made him more.” Swoon.

Producers Originally Wanted an Angry Martin for RBG Movie