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Male Privilege Watch: First-Time Film Director Seth Grahame-Smith To Direct ‘The Flash’

Male Privilege Watch: First-Time Film Director Seth Grahame-Smith To Direct 'The Flash'

In today’s chapter in the annals of dude with no experience gets job no woman would ever get, our dude with no directing experience is writer Seth Grahame-Smith of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” fame. He is the author of the books — he didn’t even direct their big-screen adaptations. He is also the screenwriter behind the horribly-reviewed “Dark Shadows” and upcoming mind boggling (as in WTF is this movie about?) “Lego Batman.”

But still none of that matters as he has been anointed wunderkind and given the reins of the upcoming “The Flash” film from Warner Brothers. 

Ok, so Grahame-Smith has directed two episodes of MTV’s “The Hard Times of RJ Berger,” a series he co-created. So he doesn’t have zero experience. But let’s remember “The Flash” is a big studio superhero flick with a budget rumored to be in the $100 million range. This is a man with ZERO film directing experience and he is being offered the keys to the kingdom. The film already has a release date of March 2018.

Ironically, this announcement comes just a couple of days after we learn that the EEOC will begin talking with women directors about their experiences of discrimination in the industry.  BTW, Warner Brothers is one of the worst studios in hiring women directors: From 2009-2013, an abysmal 2.3% of their projects were directed by women.  

This practice of hiring men with no or very little experience is commonplace, so much so that it is not even shocking anymore. But it should be. It should be shocking and unacceptable that the word director in Hollywood has become virtually synonymous with being a man — generally a white one. 

Here are some examples of novice male directors offered huge opportunities I could come up with off the top of my head: 

Colin Trevorrow for 2015’s “Jurassic World” with a budget of $150 million. Previous credit: “Safety Not Guaranteed” with budget of $750,000. He just started filming his third movie today.

Gareth Edwards for 2014’s “Godzilla” with budget of $160 million. Previous credit: “Monsters” with $500,000 budget. 

Marc Webb for 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” with a budget of $230 million. Previous credit: “(500) Days of Summer” with budget of $7.5 million.

And Taika Waititi just signed on to direct “Thor: Ragnarok.” The first two installments of the franchise had $150 million+ budgets each. Waititi’s directing experience is “What We Do in the Shadows” for $1.6 million. 

I am convinced that none of this will change until we have quotas imposed by class action lawsuits or governmental intervention. This ship will not right itself. There is no will for change. Fuck being nice anymore. The time for nice has passed. As Michael Moore said, we need to start kicking people in the teeth. 

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Comments

Gemma West

Oh lord here come the "misandry" crybabies. The guys that think picking the minuscule amount of recent examples of women directing big movies out of the sea of untested male directors that are constantly being handed massive projects (handed massive projects that have lost studios millions on several occasions) is somehow proof that everything is actually just fine and dandy. That a literal handful of women getting through the doors at long last is proof of equality. And not even untested women! Patty Jenkin’s directed Monster, which won Charlize Theron an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Actress, as well as the movie itself picking up a ton of other awards.
Just when I think there is too much overwhelming evidence of the privilege rife in the industry, I’m reminded that even that isn’t enough to prove a problem to those that simply don’t care. And it never will be. There could be zero female directors working, with them all banging on the office doors for projects and you would still have these guys telling you that there are no female directors to hire and that’s just the way it is.
I will dispute Taika Waititi though, who is a native Maori and a pretty perfect pick for Thor given the strengths of his previous work. Maybe an amendment is in order there, as directors of color are also struggling in the industry and I don’t feel like it’s fair to include him as part of the problem.

Cliff

I cannot speak for the other directors but Gareth Edwards has busted his butt as a director. He wrote, directed and spent 4 months soloing on the visual effects on Atilla the Hun for the BBC. The script styling of Godzilla matched his style of film making in the past and his work shows he can tackle the material.

Don’t get me wrong, woman in the industry are probably getting some raw deals but let’s not arrogantly pick names out of people you don’t know or research and think because they are not A list directors; they haven’t earned the right to their work. Talk about pot calling out the kettle…

Budmin

These men have a history of turning a profit out of small independent projects with huge cult followings and all you’re thinking about is that they’re white and male?

Lewis

Male Privilege Watch. So obvious this was written by an obnoxious SJW. 10/10 didn’t disappoint.

iorarua

Good grief! From the comments here, you’d think MS suggested women all go out and kick every man we see in the balls. You’ve got to ask yourselves why you’re all reacting so viciously. She wrote a sound and timely article, and backed it up with strong arguments and fair examples. Judging by the venomous anger here, obviously you’re just proving her point that ‘the ship won’t right itself’, because men are far too defensive of their transparent privilege for anything to change without outside intervention.

M CREW LITE

*Second season

M CREW LITE

As a African-American male I completely disagree with Melissa Silverstein. This is exactly what is wrong with Black People in this country, looking for a handout! Shonda Rhimes didn’t get her own night of the week because she is a woman or Black. She got her own night of the week by EARNING IT! She started off with "Grey’s Anatomy" currently in its 12th season. Then did a spinoff series called "Private Practice" that ran for 6 seasons. Through the success of those two shows she was given freedom to create "Scandal" currently in it’s 5th season. Now, "How To Get Away With Murder" in it’s season. I would like to think that Shonda Rhimes has EARNED EVERYTHING that she has achieved. I hope that ABC didn’t give her handouts or created some quota at the network. If they did that it would be a travesty! You Melissa Silverstein should be ashamed of yourself for evening mentioning the word "quota."

Jackie

Of course, these directors are jumping from tiny films to big movies. In case you didn’t notice, middle-budget movies are dead. Of course, that would require Melissa Silverstein to understand the world that she writes about. But Silverstein doesn’t. She’ll just write nasty articles about people that probably worked hard and then wish to impose quotas. Yeah, forget "being nice." Don’t worry. You never were nice. You’re a bad person and a bigot who only cares about gender and race. You’re everything you hate.

Jade

ZL: what are you talking about????? There wasn’t a single legitimate point she made.

More women aren’t being "chosen" because NOBODY is chosen, it’s earned, and the reason fewer women are earning it is because fewer women are TRYING to earn it. You can’t earn it if you don’t try.

I’ve worked with female directors, and while they’re consistent, they are consistently average, whereas among the male directors I’ve worked with, most were average, some were far above average, but many more were far below average, so far below average in fact, that I could have done a better job, and I have neither the patience nor the desire to direct.

It’s not about their gender, it’s about output, when you have the $, you want the best, you don’t want the average, with the ones who stand out as the best being overwhelmingly male, of course the big budget features are going to have predominantly male directors.

Steve Mc

What an incredibly mean spirited article.

While there’s clearly a problem for women directors, such nasty, personal attacks don’t help anyone. SGS is clearly a hugely talented storyteller/screenwriter. You present him like he’s some kind of nobody who wandered in off the street.

As for your other examples – indie directors getting a tensile movie is now a thing. Largely because the movies you reference, like Jurassic World and the Webb Spiderman movie were hits.

ZL

Ok, comment section, let’s all breathe together. Maybe ask yourselves first, why did the author write this? And then, ask yourselves, why am I reacting to it this way? No need to attack someone so harshly, merely to show that you disagree. We do have a problem where there are not enough women being the camera, it’s well documented, and disagreeing with the examples provided here doesn’t make that problem non-existent. I think Melissa makes good points even if you don’t like all the examples. I do think Waititi should have been left off, and I’d also point out that the drastic examples of going from a few million to over a hundred million for budgets do belie the fact that the mid-range has fallen out of market in Hollywood. You have to take directors from no budgets to huge budgets because there are so few movies now in the 50m-75m range. However, I don’t understand why more women aren’t being chosen to make that leap, and I think that’s our real problem.

Jade

What a ridiculous, ill thought diatribe. 1) as others pointed out, he beat out many white, male directors who were more qualified, clearly they feel he is the right person for the job. 2) as others have also pointed out, it’s their money, they can do wtf ever they want, when it’s your millions, then you can call the shots. 3) I’ve been working in film for over a decade, I’ve seen about 3x more women get handouts based on gender than men, so don’t start with that crap. 4) Absolutely ignorant to expect people to be hired based on gender or skin tone, kinda negayes the purpose of equality does it not?

Von

Did you have to be so nasty toward working filmmakers to make your point? Grahame-Smith may not be your cup of tea (he sure isn’t mine), but the disdain you show for him is ridiculous. As is the condescension you show for the other directors on the list. No one who has gone through the incredibly difficult process of directing a feature film (theatrically released and commercially viable, if not successful, no less) is a "novice." The author shows her lack of knowledge of filmmaking by so liberally throwing around that term.

Fuklaw

Leave it to identity politicians to prefer someone due to race and gender rather than skill and qualification. Melissa, when it’s YOUR millions of dollars on the line, YOU choose the candidates.

Saoirse

Guys, she said "generally white", and way to miss the point of what she was saying

John Daker

Ridiculous arguments.

It’s not like they couldn’t find any qualified white males and this is the only white guy left they could find.

He beat out all the more qualified white males too. So maybe, just maybe, wb thinks he’s the right pick for a different reason.

Dennis

You are a disgusting human being.

Patty Jenkins. One film. 12 years ago. Being handed the keys to WONDER WOMAN.

James Wan, a few horror films and F7, being handed the keys to Aquaman. James is Asian. He’s directing a non-white (PoC is racist as hell towards white people) Aquaman. WB are putting out a black solo Superhero movie, and a female solo superhero movie, very soon, long before their competition AKA Kevin Feige and the MCU. Quota? No. A woman isn’t deserving just because she’s a woman, and for you to insist, or even imply he only got the job because he’s male and "white" is racism, and sexism, from you. You’re a disgrace to the human race, Melissa, venting your vitriol at white males, like you’re some sort of justice crusader? You’re nothing more than a racist misandrist.

Pat

Interesting that in lamenting sexism in Hollywood you engage in some good old fashioned racism. Taika Waititi is a person of color, and has done significantly more than just directed that one film.

And why is it that you feel you have to personally attack Grahame-Smith? How did he become the bad guy? You could have said something important with this article, but instead you just showed your own pettiness and ugliness.

mark

I’m not sure if its fair to include Taika Waititi on this list. He is Maori and very much "not white", was nominated for an oscar with his first directing effort "Two Cars, One Night", and has been making films since 2002. His movie "Boy" broke box office records here in NZ. He is far from a novice director with no experience.

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