How Beyonce Helped Felicity Jones Play Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Beyonce-Felicity Jones-Split-Getty-H 2018
John Lamparski/WireImage; Presley Ann/Getty Images

Besides Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Felicity Jones channeled another female icon on the set of On the Basis of Sex, the biopic of the Supreme Court justice that's out Dec. 25.

Cailee Spaeny, 20, plays RBG's daughter Jane Ginsburg and tells THR that Jones would put on Beyonce's "Single Ladies" music video while "trying to loosen up" before shooting scenes in the film written by Ginsburg's nephew Daniel Stiepleman (the justice herself makes a cameo). “We tried to replicate all the moves just to get all the jitters out,” she says.

The duo’s dancing playlist also included Saturday Night Fever songs and mimicking John Travolta’s iconic moves from that film. “We were always trying to take out the nerves because they were all heavy, big scenes. Especially when you're doing a true story and you're playing real people, it kind of gets to you,” Spaeny adds.

She and Jones were especially nervous to do a scene with Kathy Bates — “She's an icon, you know” — who portrays feminist lawyer Dorothy Kenyon in the film. Spaeny says despite the fun on set with Jones, “she was a pro and she really wanted to make sure that she did Ruth justice — no pun intended.” 

A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.