Judd Apatow Writes Good Female Roles—For Leslie Mann
We’re sick and tired of the “Is Judd Apatow A Sexist Pig Because His Main Characters Are Loser Guys Who Date Women Who Are Too Good For Them?” debate.
Nevertheless, whether or not Apatow’s a sexist pig has taken on a life of its own and become something he has to answer for. Earlier this week at a screening of his latest film, “Funny People,” Apatow told an audience:
“I think, really, what a lot of these issues are is that women are romanticized in movies. [My] movies go pretty hard at having women have as many problems as men. They make mistakes that are as big as men’s. So when someone says ‘Knocked Up’ seems sexist, I’m like, ‘Really?’ I mean, Seth [Rogen] has an earthquake, and he grabs his bong before his pregnant girlfriend. That’s pretty bad. But I try to weigh it evenly so it’s not really about men or women; it’s just about miscommunications and us at our worst.”
His wife, Leslie Mann, spoke up today and agreed. “I kind of don’t know what [Heigl] was talking about,” Mann said. “I’m an actress reading scripts and I’ve seen what’s out there and it’s slim pickings. Judd does write great female parts.”
Well, that’s kind of true. There are some great female roles in Apatow films. But look more closely: Who were the stars of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”? A bunch of men, Catherine Keener, Jane Lynch, and Leslie Mann. Of “Knocked Up”? A bunch of men, Katherine Heigl, and Leslie Mann. Of “Funny People”? A bunch of men and Leslie Mann. Hm. It looks to me like Judd Apatow does write great female parts—for Leslie Mann.
It’s Apatow’s prerogative to cast whichever woman he would like in his movies, of course. But neither of them should kid themselves that Apatow’s giving work to as many women in Hollywood as he is to men.
In any case, wouldn’t it be more useful to stop putting all this focus on Apatow, who is casting a woman over 40 in his movies, and ask other writers and directors why most of their parts are for 22-year-olds?