'Mrs. America's' Sarah Paulson Says Her Character Alice Is Based On Many Real Women

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·2 min read
'Mrs. America's' Sarah Paulson Says Her Character Alice Is Based On Many Real Women
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  • Sarah Paulson
    Sarah Paulson
    Actress
  • Phyllis Schlafly
    Phyllis Schlafly
    American activist (1924-2016)

From Women's Health

  • Sarah Paulson's character in Mrs. America, Alice Macray, didn't exist in real life.

  • Instead, she's a composite character based on the women in Phyllis Schlafly's circle.

  • In an interview, Sarah said that Alice "is very different" from herself.

Your streaming options are about to get exciting, folks. FX on Hulu's new bingeable TV series Mrs. America tells the story of the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment in the United States during the 1970s. At the center of it all are super strong women, and it's their unique perspectives that shape the lively narrative.

The first three episodes debut Wednesday, April 15 on Hulu, and the rest follow in weekly installments. The show stars Cate Blanchett as conservative anti-ERA activist Phyllis Schlafly and Rose Byrne as feminist icon Gloria Steinem among a fully loaded cast.

However, not all the Mrs. America characters match up with real life counterparts, like Sarah Paulson's Alice Macray. Alice is a fictional character based on the women in Phyllis's circle. Sarah points to one of Phyllis's neighbors as the inspiration in an Extra interview. "She's a mix and amalgamation of many women from that time period," Sarah adds.

Alice represents multiple women who supported Phyllis in her campaign to block the ERA. "She is a composite character, so I got all the research material I could find," Sarah told E News. "But mostly, which I think it's always significant when it's possible to do this, the text itself gave me a lot of the information."

Photo credit: FX
Photo credit: FX

Alice is a wife, a mother, a devout Catholic, and basically Sarah's polar opposite. "The wonderful writers have created somebody who is very different from myself," Sarah explained. "She's sort of innocent and a bit of an open-hearted person. She's a devoted Catholic and very dedicated homemaker. And I myself am not a dedicated homemaker, so I thought it was sort of interesting to put my toe in that water and see what it would be like to be a person for whom their entire world was their family life and their home life, and to feel that threatened, and to feel that sense that somehow she didn't matter, because her desire was to be in the home and to support her husband and to raise her children. That that was being devalued by this movement was very scary for her."

What can you expect from Alice in Mrs. America? Sarah told Extra, "Without giving too much away, something powerful happens to Alice."

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