Who's Who of Hollywood Women Mobilize for Washington's Anti-Trump March
Scarlett Johansson, Amy Schumer, Olivia Wilde and hundreds of other stars, execs and creators will make the trek to the capital Jan. 21 to protest the president-elect as concerns about new administration match industry woes: There's "so much suspicion about an ambitious woman."
Casual showrunner Liz Tigelaar first heard about the Women's March on Washington while she was drinking wine and "freaking out" about the election with her wife, PR pro Alison Rou, and some friends. "We were like, 'F— it. We're going,'" says Tigelaar, who will rally with industry pals including producer-director Nancy Hower, Criminal Minds exec producer Erica Messer and producer Diane Ruggiero. They're just a few of the execs and creators who'll line up alongside such stars as Viola Davis, Olivia Wilde and America Ferrera, who all have declared their intention to march ("for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health and our families" is the stated mission on the organizers' website).
For Anonymous Content's Joy Gorman Wettels, the call to action ignited on a group text with such close friends as screenwriters Dana Fox and Lorene Scafaria. "At first, it was about who could pick up someone's mom from a colonoscopy," she says with a laugh. "But when Trump was elected, it became our lifeline. Almost everyone on that text is marching in Washington."
Hollywood's D.C.-bound women are swapping stories and sharing tips about what to bring ("No big purses allowed!'' read one mass email) and where to meet up. "I've never seen the town this activated and motivated," says Maria Grasso, president of Marti Noxon's Tiny Pyro production company. Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant, now working on The Last Tycoon, adds: "It's not just women on set talking about the march. Everyone is talking about it."
Grasso and Bryant, like many in L.A., booked their plane tickets before they nabbed a place to stay. Anyone heading to D.C. knows that the logistics alone rival snagging a reservation in Cannes during the film festival. Within days of the march's announcement Nov. 9, hotel lodging evaporated. (Many rooms had been booked for the inauguration Jan. 20.)
"You're going to see a lot of bunking up and 30- to 40-something girls acting like they're in college," says Gorman Wettels. There are plenty of networking events designed to extend the momentum as well. UTA's Blair Kohan and Rene Jones are hosting post-march cocktails, while a Town Hall with Gloria Steinem has a wait list to get in. Funny or Die's music and comedy night to benefit Planned Parenthood sold out within hours — no doubt fueled by the rumor that declared marcher Amy Schumer would rant onstage.
While Chelsea Handler will lead a "sister march" in Park City during Sundance, festival actresses including Edie Falco (Landline) and Zoe Kazan (The Big Sick) still feel compelled to attend the main event. Kazan cleared an early fest departure with producer Judd Apatow. "The election has revolutionized my own priorities," says the actress, who's marching with 15 friends and family, including her screenwriter mom, Robin Swicord. "I told everybody associated with the film that I would only come to Sundance if they could fly me to D.C. in time to be at the march."
Gorman Wettels, who's producing an Amy Berg documentary about the women's movement post-election and will be marching with a camera crew, sees an opportunity to add heft to the Hollywood stereotype. "We're going to be talking to strangers about things that are so much more important than the Golden Globes and the Oscars," she says. Lifelong activist and L.A. attorney Gloria Allred, who'll march alongside Trump's sexual-assault accusers, believes that the new president will get the point. "He's not going to intimidate me or any of us out there," she says. "Once all of these women march, there is no going back."
For writer-director and former Orange Is the New Black co-producer Sian Heder, it all feels personal. "As a woman director, I know that there's so much suspicion about an ambitious woman who wants to be in power," she says. Adds Samie Falvey, former longtime head of comedy at ABC and now chief content officer at AwesomenessTV, "Working in comedy, there is this insidious disguised sexism, like the gender jokes. I have less of a sense of humor about that now."
This story first appeared in the Jan. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.