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Writer Abi Morgan on the women who inspired 'Suffragette'




Abi Morgan attends the official academy screening of SUFFRAGETTE hosted by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on October 13, 2015 in New York City.
Abi Morgan attends the official academy screening of SUFFRAGETTE hosted by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on October 13, 2015 in New York City.
Robin Marchant
Abi Morgan attends the official academy screening of SUFFRAGETTE hosted by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on October 13, 2015 in New York City.
Helena Bonham Carter, Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep star in "Suffragette," opening October 23.
Focus Features


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The new film "Suffragette" is set in Great Britain in 1912 when women known as "suffragettes" campaigned for the right to vote.

Sometimes that campaign turned violent, as demonstrators tried to make their demands heard. Protestors were frequently jailed and when they refused to eat, they suffered brutal force feedings behind bars.

The Suffragette movement has rarely been depicted in film, beyond one tune sang by the mother character in "Mary Poppins," which is partly what inspired Abi Morgan to write the film.

As far as who inspired the characters themselves, some are based on real-life historical figures, but others, like the main character Maude (played by Carey Mulligan) are fictional composites. 

Morgan says that of all the research she did, what she found most inspiring were the accounts of a group of working class women who worked in a laundry.

"So many of the things they talked about, the working conditions, the sexual violence and abuse at home and at work, custodial rights over their children, equal pay, felt [like] very 21st Century issues," Morgan says. "And so I found myself drawn more and more towards looking at the foot soldiers and using historical events really as the kind of markers, and sort of colliding fact with fiction."

To hear the full interview, click the blue player above.