Carol, Laurel, Jules, Therese, Maud. These are just a few of the lead characters in a fall season that is by all accounts a big one for female-driven movies.
Below are some excerpts from The New York Times article:
Are women in Hollywood unfairly denied opportunities to act, direct, write and produce?
JULIANNE MOORE I’ve had a lot of luck in my career and I’ve worked with a lot of really wonderful directors, so I can’t complain. When people start putting this on the entertainment business, I’m like, “Wait a minute, this is endemic to our culture at large.” [However,] sometimes I read a script and there’s only one female in it. That’s not what my world looks like. I have days where the only men I see are my husband and my teenage son, but the rest of the day, I go to my yoga class, I see a female friend for lunch, I talk to my female manager on the phone. So how is that even possible?
ELLEN PAGE Absolutely, women and all minorities [are denied opportunities], African-American men, African-American women, trans men, trans women, the list goes on.
MICHAEL SHANNON, CO-STAR, “FREEHELD” They say it’s harder for women in this business, and maybe there is a narrower window of opportunity, but I think it’s a hard life for anybody. I know a lot of guys who are sitting there with their thumbs up their butts. It’s hard, but some of the most exciting actors right now are women. I’ve worked with a lot of really strong women, Jessica Chastain, Julie, Ellen.
Can women be unlikable on screen?
MOORE I think there is a time in a person’s life, probably age 6, when they want to see stuff that is romanticized, but after that we’re ready for more complication.
RON NYSWANER, SCREENWRITER, “FREEHELD” Whenever I’m in a meeting and an executive says this particular moment makes her unlikable, I just draw a complete blank. Likability is not really something that interests me. What I care about is audience identification, that you connect to someone.
MOORE Audiences want to see real people. I know I do. [Laurel Hester’s domestic partner] would tell me these stories when I would go to visit her: Laurel was very bossy. And if you were to talk to anybody’s partner, you’d hear about the things they love about them and the things that drive them crazy.
Do you think the status for women in Hollywood is changing?
PAGE We’re seeing changes especially in television. Look at “Orange Is the New Black,” a perfect example of an incredibly diverse cast with incredible actors, and I’m hoping that it’s becoming clear that people want to experience different stories and realities, whether it’s socio-economic, or racial, or sexual or gender identities.
Talk about the economics of putting women front and center in films.
MOORE Traditionally it’s very difficult to make money with dramas. They don’t make as much money as comedy and action films, so that’s another reason [women] can get relegated to the sidelines. You can be a woman headlining a drama that [makes] $50 million and nobody is going to get that excited about it. But look at this summer, Melissa McCarthy with “Spy” and “Trainwreck” [with Amy Schumer] — those movies made a fortune and those women are comic geniuses. And so suddenly are we going to see more of that? Time will tell, but it’s really about money.
In what other ways can Hollywood change?
MOORE Vote with your money. If there’s something you don’t like, don’t go, don’t pay for it. And if there’s a female-driven movie out there that you want to see, buy a ticket. That’s really what makes a difference. My husband laughs at me, but I just won’t go see movies with only men in them. I just can’t bear it.
For the complete article that includes words from actresses also who speak up about sexism; Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway and Carey Mulligan. Click here.