The former Secretary of State will be Executive Producer on a series based on the book The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote, written by Pushcart Prize-winning journalist Elaine Weiss
“I’m thrilled to be joining forces with Steven Spielberg,” Clinton wrote on Twitter. “We stand on their shoulders, and I’m delighted to have a hand in helping to tell their stories.”
The show will be produced by Spielberg’s Amblin Television. It marks Clinton’s first foray into producing. The finished series may either appear on cable television or a streaming service.
I’m thrilled to be joining forces with Steven Spielberg to bring @efweiss5’s book “The Woman’s Hour” to TV. It’s about the women who fought for suffrage nearly 100 years ago. We stand on their shoulders, and I’m delighted to have a hand in helping to tell their stories.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 1, 2018
Clinton will also appear with other former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell in the upcoming fifth season of CBS series Madam Secretary, which premieres on 7 October.
“At the heart of democracy lies the ballot box, and Elaine Weiss’ unforgettable book tells the story of the female leaders who – in the face of towering economic, racial and political opposition – fought for and won American women’s right to vote,” Clinton said.
“Unfolding over six weeks in the summer of 1920, The Woman’s Hour is both a page-turning drama and an inspiration for everyone, young and old, male and female, in these perilous times. So much could have gone wrong, but these American women would not take no for an answer: their triumph is our legacy to guard and emulate.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) August 1, 2018
Contemporary resonance in the tale of women’s suffrage
Weiss was apparently struck by echoes of the women’s suffrage movement as she followed the 2016 presidential campaign between Clinton and Donald Trump. She became determined to get the book to Clinton, who loved the contemporary resonances in the historical tale and took it to long-term supporter Spielberg, who purchased the rights for his production company.
Barack and Michelle Obama have also recently got into the television game, signing a multi-year deal to produce content for Netflix. Bill Clinton is also adapting The President is Missing, the best-selling thriller he co-authored with James Patterson.
Hillary Clinton to Produce Women’s Suffrage Drama Series with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television https://t.co/v50FQN7KrZ
— Variety (@Variety) August 1, 2018
Weiss’ book was released in March to positive reviews. Writing in The New York Times, novelist and critic Curtis Sittenfeld said the vivid storytelling was goosebump inducing. She also mentioned the story’s contemporary relevance.
“I’m almost certain that the name Hillary Rodham Clinton appears only once, in the last few pages. Yet it is, of course, impossible to read The Woman’s Hour without thinking of the 2016 presidential election, of the symbolic and literal impact of Clinton’s candidacy,” Sittenfeld wrote.
In The Guardian: Hillary Clinton and Steven Spielberg to make TV series on women's suffrage https://t.co/4Nugxh9Mbs
— Elaine Weiss (@efweiss5) August 1, 2018
Weiss’s work details how the campaign to give women voting rights ultimately came down to a single male legislator. The author says the story is as relevant as ever in the era of #MeToo and Time’s Up.
“As I was researching this, I realised that some of the issues and themes that are revealed in the story of women organising themselves and demanding their own political freedom are very much ones that we’re still wrestling with today. I was struck by that. It’s a good story,” Weiss told Parade.