How Meryl Streep Helped Daughter Grace Gummer Prepare for Her Role on Good Girls Revolt
For the women working and writing here at InStyle, it may seem crazy to think that not all that many years ago, our jobs wouldn't have existed. Sure, we may have been employed at a major publication, but we wouldn't have ever been allowed to become writers or editors. It's an unfortunate part of history, and it's the topic at the center of Amazon's newest series, Good Girls Revolt, which premieres today, Oct. 28.
Based on the book written by Lynn Povich ($16; amazon.com), the series revolves around the young women who work at News of the Week, a fictional publication based on the very real Newsweek and the monumental events that took place there in the early 1970s. It follows these women as they decide they want to be treated equally and fairly in their workplace, and ultimately file a lawsuit in order to make it happen.
We sat down with Grace Gummer (below, right) to talk about her role in the series as prolific journalist and author, Nora Ephron, who was directly involved in the real life revolt. Read below to see what the actress had to say.
“I play Nora Ephron in the sixties, during the women’s movement when she worked at Newsweek," she told InStyle. "I play sort of the voice of reason throughout the pilot. I’m the one that comes in and is like, 'Hey this isn’t cool, I’m not standing for this. I’m a writer, I’m not just a woman that’s working here.' I’m sort of the one that ignites the fire and initiates the quitting and the revolting of the show."
To play such an important and historical figure is not an undertaking she took lightly. "I read a lot of her work just to get a sense of her voice. I watched a lot of her interviews—a lot of her Charlie Rose interviews. She had a great commencement speech that she gave to Wellesley in the '90s that I watched over and over. When you play someone who actually existed who was also so beloved, it’s hard to be exactly them because you’re naturally, obviously, not."
And it doesn't hurt that her mother, Meryl Streep, was good friends with Ephron in real life. "My mom was close with her, so that helped that she gave me some insight about Nora and what she was like. But mostly I did all the research on my own."
In researching her character and getting to know her through the role, Gummer found some similarities between them. “I feel like I have a good sense of self and I’m pretty confident and have a good sense of moral code about what’s right and what’s not right. I feel like I’m sort of not afraid to have a voice, so in terms of that, I think we’re a lot alike."
And of course, with the show set in the late '60s and early '70s, we had to ask about the incredible wardrobe. But compared with all the other girls' styles on the show, which range from mod to free-spirited, hers is a bit different. "I love how I’m the only one with pants," she said, laughing. "I have sort of that more collegiate, journalist style."
She went on to explain how the wardrobe helps her get into her role. "I love fittings; it’s where your character is born, basically. You have your character based in your head and then you physically see it. It’s always really helpful for me to get into character in a fitting.”
In a time when we are only a few weeks away from possibly having a female president, the show—and Gummer's role, specifically—is particularly relevant. “I just feel so proud and lucky,” she said. “Especially to play someone that I just admired so much and that so many women looked up to, and men, too. What I love about this show is that the men are so important in helping the women and being there for them and standing up for them and being side by side, because that’s what being a feminist is; it’s believing in both sexes and the equality of both sexes.”
All episodes are available for streaming today on Amazon.