Click here to listen to the interview.
Considering how personally self-effacing Ruth Bader Ginsberg is, it’s remarkable that she participated in making a documentary about herself. It’s just one of the remarkable things about Julie Cohen and Betsy Ward, the intrepid and persistent filmmakers who persuaded the Supreme Court justice that is was the right thing to do. Their documentary, RBG, delves into Ginsberg’s life before she was appointed to the court, both professionally as a trailblazer for gender equality, and personally, with a loving tribute to her husband, Marty, a man ahead of his time when it came to gender roles in a marriage.
Our conversation in April of 2018 covered those topics, as well as what the landscape for women was before RBG sought legal redress for it; how they persuaded a reticent woman to be the subject of their documentary; RBG’s apotheosis into pop icon, and how the filmmakers chose to present the one foot that RBG has put wrong in all her years of public life.
We finished up with the unlikely, but genuine, friendship between RBG and her philosophical polar opposite, Antonin Scalia; what it was like to show her for the first time the SNL sketches of her starring Kate McKinnon; who did and didn’t want to talk to them about the justice; and the best thing RBG’s mother taught her.
Cohen’s previous work includes THE STURGEON QUEENS, AMERICAN VETERAN, and NDIPHILELA UKUCULA: I LIVE TO SING. West’s work includes MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA, LAVENDER SQUARE, and CONSTANTINE’S SWORD.