“I never really understand when people say that I like playing strong characters. I always find that a little weird because, I could be wrong, but I don’t think people ever say that to men. It’s like, well what should I play, a weak character? Does that mean that I can lift weights? I guess it means strong-minded, right? But it’s weird because people never say that about a male actor — Michael Fassbender or George Clooney, for example — that they love playing strong characters. It’s a weird gender thing.”
– Rachel Weisz (whose last name, for the life of me, I can never properly spell) brings up a good point about sexism in the ways we talk about male and female roles in Hollywood, even if the “strong women” comment is meant to be a compliment.
She’s right: no one ever commends an actor like Colin Firth when he plays a “strong” character, even though he has played characters with weaknesses as well, because a “strong” role for a male actor is considered the default. [The Sun UK]
“Kathryn Bigelow would be considered a mildly interesting filmmaker if she was a man but since she’s a very hot woman she’s really overrated.”
That’s a tweet from Bret Easton Ellis, the author of American Psycho and other books and movies. I guess someone is a little butthurt because Kathryn Bigelow won an Oscar for Best Director (making her the first-ever woman to do so) while Ellis’ latest film project stars a can-barely-walk-straight Lindsay Lohan? [IndieWire]
On May 13, 2011, the cinematic landscape was forever changed by that cute little movie about friends, weddings and bowel incontinence. Other than a couple “Saturday Night Live” cast members and the lead guy from “Mad Men,” that cute little movie starred a bunch of relatively unknown—and, up until that time, unappreciated—actors and actresses. Yet, at the end of the day, that cute little movie went on to make over $288
billion million at the box office and finally prove to film studios executives it was okay for women to be depicted as smart, funny, beautiful and a little gross. Call it the “Bridesmaids” Effect.
No matter how you slice it, movie theaters haven’t been the same since Melissa McCarthy pooped in a sink. (And I mean that as the highest compliment.) So, without further adieu, allow me to introduce you to the next crop of illegally talented female screenwriters who are likely to leave you in stitches and (possibly) tears.
For the past week, women’s media has pretty much been dominated by talk of Lena Dunham’s new show “Girls.” But newsflash! There’s other crap going on! Like the fact that this year’s prestigious Cannes Film Festival features absolutely zero films by women. That’s right: of the 23 films up for Cannes’ Very Important Palm D’Or Award, zero were made by women. And in the Un Certain Regard category — reserved for films made by up-and-coming young directors — only two were made by women.
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“Any feminist out there who doesn’t support me gets a big boo because you’ve got one person out there who is advocating for women in Hollywood and you’re going to slag that person? If you’re a feminist, you should be up my butt. I have no idea if I’ve helped feminism or set it back, because people see me as such a polarizing figure. I hope it’s the former. But if I can’t even get feminists on my side, maybe I’m not helping.”
– Diablo Cody, who wrote “Young Adult,” is certainly sick of being criticized by feminists (and their at-times strange bedfellows, conservatives) for various crimes, like the fact that “Juno” didn’t involve an abortion, Diablo’s past career as a stripper, and plenty of other violations dictated by The Not Feminist Enough Police.
FWIW, I’m a feminist and I’m on your side, Diablo. [Guardian UK]
Today two powerful leading ladies make a bang on the big screen as Kate Beckinsale returns as badass vampire Selene in “Underworld: Awakening” and real-life powerhouse MMA fighter Gina Carano stars in “Haywire.” And these heroines join the ranks of some of the most kickass female characters to grace the pages of comic books and shine on the silver screen.
But each of these strong women is more than just a pretty face. With supernatural strength and street smarts, these strong characters represent female empowerment and the ability for a woman to be in charge of her own fate. Whether you’re like Wonder Woman flying solo or you’ve got a solid group behind you like Jem & The Holograms, each of these heroines with an action-packed history has given us lessons to incorporate in our everyday lives. Now get ready to show your own demons who’s boss! Read more…
“There’s this strange thing that’s happened over the last 25 or 30 years where there’s this decision being made that women aren’t able to carry the box office. Now, ‘Bridesmaids’ has proved that to be bullshit, and ‘The Help’ has proven it to be bullshit. But it’s much harder to get a film with a woman lead made. When a man hits 40 is when roles just begin to happen. And for women it doesn’t happen. I find that to be a very concerning issue.”
– George Clooney continues to do what he does second best (after acting) in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly – making women swoon. Clooney sounds a little bit like a politician to me here — while he very well may be quite concerned about the status of women in Hollywood, it also sounds like he’s pandering a bit to a sizable portion of his fan base. Prove me wrong, George! I know — why doesn’t he step behind the camera again (his third biggest talent, as displayed in the well-done “Ides of March”) and direct a female lead himself? Another movie with Tilda Swinton, perhaps? Or Vera Farmiga? Or Helen Mirren? That would be rad. Just a thought. [Entertainment Weekly]
“The conventional knowledge in Hollywood is that an unsympathetic female character can tank a movie. I’m hoping that’s not true. I’m knocking on wood really emphatically right now but honestly I have a lot of theories sometimes I wonder if it comes down to mommy issues. The idea of a cold, unlikeable woman or a woman who is not in control of herself is genuinely frightening to people because it threatens civilization itself or threatens the American family. But I don’t know why people are always willing to accept and even like flawed male characters.We’ve seen so many lovable anti-heroes who are curmudgeons or addicts or bad fathers and a lot of those characters have become beloved icons and I don’t see women allowed to play the same parts. So it was really important to me to try and turn that around.”
– Diablo Cody explains in further depth her decision to write a movie centered around a highly unlikeable female character, something I pointed out in my review of that film, “Young Adult.” I thought Cody’s attempt was a complete success — while Charlize Theron’s character Mavis is, for the most part, utterly loathsome, she is also fascinating and complex. The film opened in select cities this past weekend and is in theaters nationwide this weekend. Did you see it? If so, what did you think? [Woman and Hollywood/IndieWire]
Well, surprise, surprise. It looks like women in Hollywood are still screwed, at least according to a recent University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism study. Researchers surveyed all films released in 2009, and found that filmmakers still favor men over women — only around a third of all speaking characters were female. Not only that — women on screen were more likely to be scantily clad — three times more likely — than their male counterparts. Keep reading »