A story from the UK Telegraph entitled Where are All the Women Directors by David Gritten has been making its way around the internet over the last couple of days. On the surface the story doesn’t really say anything new. It begins with a quote from Jessica Lange saying that there are very few good parts for women actors.
But the reason why this is resonating is that Mr. Gritten, a guy, is standing up a saying this is a problem. He is not saying things that women working and writing on this topic haven’t been saying for years, but when a guy says it it seems to have some more significance. Personally, I could care less if people listened to a cat, if they figured out how to deal with this problem.
Here are a couple of his good lines:
There’s no shortage of talented actress to go round, but women screenwriters and directors are relatively thin on the ground. And that’s the real root of the problem. It’s not that you have to be a woman to write or direct great roles for actresses, though it certainly wouldn’t hurt.
He goes on to point out the difficulties of women writers like Callie Khouri and Zoe Kazan and briefly touches on what happened to Brenda Chapman on Brave but it his overarching point at the end that has the most resonance.
But it does often seem Hollywood is one big boys’ club, one that especially discourages the different ideas that talented women behind the cameras can bring. And this leads directly to Jessica Lange’s gripe about a shortage of great roles for actresses. It needs to be addressed, and seriously, sooner rather than later – overlooking the input from half the world’s population is no-one’s idea of a decent business model, nor a worldview worthy of film’s glorious history.
The story is worth a look. He gets that it is the fact that women bring different perspectives to the work and that those perspectives are not valued and accepted and that needs to change.