Notorious RBG. We’ve seen it all across tumblr, and at the height of the online-sensation – in January 2015, Directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West decided that it was due time to make a film about the ‘Notorious RBG’ herself, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Cohen and West approached Ginsburg with the idea for the documentary, and Ginsburg’s response was a careful “not yet”…. but, without a hard “no,” they decided to move forward.
Here, Cohen describes the film’s conception:
Cohen describes her communications with the Justice as being via email, but as it happens – Ginsburg typically replies to emails by having an assistant print them for her to read, at which point she will either dictate a response, or occasionally send back a handwritten note. Needless to say – Cohen considers those notes prized possessions.
The RBG-infatuation has swept throughout the millennial generation, which Cohen attributes to the calm yet strong approach to speaking up – and speaking out – that Ginsburg has always taken. As one of only 9 women in her Harvard class, Ginsburg lived through a time when women in that position were told that they were “taking the place” of a man. When asked how best to carry her legacy forward, Cohen says Ginsburg would hope that millennial women continue to speak up and speak out, and continue to spearhead the very causes that Ginsburg was speaking out about in the 1970s.
Behind the scenes, the love story in Ginsburg’s life with her late husband plays a key role in the film. Her late husband was always standing behind her, supporting her career, and taking care of anything necessary to allow Ginsburg the time and energy she needed to push her career forward. But her husband was not the only one who held a deep respect for Ginsburg – everyone she’s come across, from childhood friends to fellow Supreme Court justices with opposing viewpoints (like the late Antonin Scalia), have admitted to the incredible intelligence of Ginsburg, and the respect she commands despite being so soft-spoken and small in stature.
Outside of her career, Ginsburg definitely lives a robust personal life. From working out while wearing a “Super Diva!” shirt, to spending time in Sweden, to parasailing, Ginsburg has done it all, and Cohen elaborates on all of it in the full Q&A video below.
View the full Q&A here:
About the film:
At the age of 84, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. But without a definitive Ginsburg biography, the unique personal journey of this diminutive, quiet warrior’s rise to the nation’s highest court has been largely unknown, even to some of her biggest fans – until now. RBG is a revelatory documentary exploring Ginsburg ‘s exceptional life and career from Directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen.
View the trailer:
Where to see it:
RBG is now playing at the Angelika New York, uptown in Manhattan at the Angelika’s sister location City Cinemas 1, 2 & 3, and the Angelika Mosaic. It opens Friday 5/11 at Angelika Plano and Angelika Carmel Mountain.