The following is all the writer/director and actor had to go on:
"Alvin was the renegade on my father's side, Evelyn was the maverick on my mother's, a substitute elementary school teacher in the Newark system who'd been active several years earlier in founding the left-wing, largely Jewish Newark Teachers Union, whose few hundred members were competing with a more staid, apolitical teachers' association to negotiate contracts with the city. Evelyn was just thirty in 1941, and until two years before, when my maternal grandmother died of heart failure after a decade as a coronary invalid, it was Evelyn who'd cared for her in the tiny top-floor apartment ...and when Evelyn went to New York to see a play with her intellectual friends on a Saturday night...Many nights Aunt Evelyn never made it home from New York - even when she'd planned to return before midnight...And then there were the afternoons Evelyn didn't get back until hours after school was over, because of a long-standing off-and-on love affair with a substitute teacher from North Newark, like Evelyn a forceful union advocate, and unlike Evelyn married, Italian and the parent of three children. --- Her large nose didn't prevent people from calling Aunt Evelyn "striking," and it was true, as my mother observed, that when tiny Evelyn walked into a room -- a vivacious brunette with a perfect, if miniaturized womanly silhouette, enormous dark eyes...crimson lipstick guaranteed to dazzle -- everyone turned to look, the women as well as the men. Her hair was lacquered to a metallic luster...and when she went off to sub, she donned a brightly colored skirt with matching high-heeled shoes and a broad white belt and a semisheer, pastel-colored blouse. My father considered her apparel in poor taste for a schoolteacher, and so did the principal at Hawthorne...my mother....was incapable of judging her sister's boldness harshly, even when Evelyn resigned from teaching, quit the union, and seemingly without a qualm, abandoned her political loyalties to work for Rabbi Bengelsdorf in Lindbergh's OAA.
It would be several months before it occurred to my parents that Aunt Evelyn was the rabbi's mistress and had been ever since he met her at a reception..."
These introductory scenes are what they came up with:
Did Ms. Ryder consider these discrepancies when she read the novel? Clearly, the spine of Evelyn's actions in the arc of the drama is focused on the abandonment of one political point of view for its polar opposite. What drives a person to do that? Whenever it's observed, it's curiously mysterious except for obvious reasons like ambition or conformity or something -- Mussolini comes to mind. But still...it's puzzling, isn't it? What a splendidly complex person Evelyn is, what a gift Philip Roth gave some future actor lucky enough to bring her to life. Misogynist? Who's the misogynist in this scenario?