I have no idea why this interview was not published by The Hollywood Reporter, but it wasn’t. This interview was conducted last September and has some really good points about women and the business. Several people commented on the blog about how in Laura Ziskin’s obituary, the NY Times said that her daughter Julia was “dragged” to sets. Guess that all that dragging did some good and didn’t ruin her life since her daughter Julia not only went into the business, but worked directly with her mom.
The conversation since Ziskin’s passing this week has been interesting as she has been one of the more high profile women in Hollywood who came of age in the 70s to pass away. It has been about what where women started and the progress women have made. But it also has illuminated through a successful woman who spoke honestly about women and Hollywood, how far women still have to go.
A great quote in the piece is how she got involved with Spiderman. She had to leave all her projects behind when she left Fox 2000, and she said to the folks at Sony: “Just give me the biggest motherf—r you have.” And that motherf—r was Spiderman. And it changed her life.
Here are her own words via The Hollywood Reporter
THR: As Good as it Gets, which won Oscars — would that movie be difficult to get made today?
Ziskin: That was a very hard movie to get made. It’s funny in a way because the over-40s or baby boomers, we have a movie-going habit. My generation –- I would go to the movies every weekend if it was something I really wanted to see. Now, young people have so many other potential entertainment activities. For me as a filmmaker, I do the projects I’m really excited about. I feel like the movies I made earlier in my career could never be made now –- it’s just a different world. Listen, I’m really blessed. It was serendipitous, but an unusual turn to me to be involved in the Spider-Man franchise because certainly that wasn’t where my career was headed.
THR: How has being a woman affected the way you work, if at all?
Ziskin: It has totally affected who I am. When I started, I was the only woman in the room and the only woman in the van, which is bad because you always have to pee more than the men because [men are] like camels: Excuse me can we stop and go to the bathroom.” Now there are so many women, but are there women with ultimate power? Not so many. It still is a man’s world. I think it’s hard for women to be directors, particularly in the feature world because, biologically, your peak career-making years are also your peak baby-making years, and that’s just the truth. And those are choices women have to make. My career is certainly different and blessedly so because of my daughter and I made a lot of choices because of her that probably helped my career.
THR: What do you think your legacy will be?
Ziskin: I’m one of a group of us who came up in the ’70s — we were a little bit post-feminist or products of the feminist movement — and paved the way for other women. Stand Up to Cancer has also been really powerful for me. One thing I wanted to do was to say we’re all the same, and this can happen to anybody. I won’t be around, so you guys are going to have to solve it for your generation and your children.