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Hollywood Flashback: HBOs If These Walls Could Talk Put Abortion in the Spotlight

The Supreme Courts reversal of Roe v. Wade has given new poignancy to If These Walls Could Talk, HBOs 1996 anthology film around three ladies in different eras the 1950s, the 1970s and the 1990s and their experiences with abortion.

Demi Moore, Sissy Spacek and Cher each starred in a segment, with Cher directing her portion. Cher and Moore also served as executive producers on the project. Co-writer and co-director Nancy Savoca remembers the way the film broke new ground but was also met with backlash.

We were always nervous, Savoca says of anticipating the a reaction to the movie, noting, there have been protesters while we were shooting. She adds that certain of the films actors lost a longtime commercial job because of the focus on the film, and says it had been the only real project shes ever done where there is no product placement because no brands wished to be associated with the stories where Moore stars as a nurse who gets an illegal abortion in 1952, Spacek as a mother of four who unexpectedly becomes pregnant in 1974, and Cher as a health care provider who performs an abortion as protests rage outside in 1996.

Savoca calls HBO very, very brave release a the film, which continued to earn four Emmy nominations, including outstanding TV movie. She hopes more studios will observe within their footsteps: Storytelling is what gets visitors to really empathize and understand something beyond the politics.

In its review, THR said the film goes beyond noble effort.The Hollywood Reporter

This story first appeared within an August stand-alone problem of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

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