You’d be surprised to learn just how many actors — and actresses — have never been directed by a woman at any point in their decades-long careers. Tom Cruise and Matt Damon are among the most noteworthy names on that list. Brad Pitt has appeared onscreen for over 25 years, and this year’s “By the Sea” marked his first time starring in a woman-helmed feature (the director being Angelina Jolie Pitt, his wife).
Phillips, meanwhile, has worked with two women directors in two years: He appears in Patricia Riggen’s Chilean-miner drama “The 33,” currently in theaters, and just finished filming Megan Griffith’s “The Night Stalker,” where he plays serial killer Richard Ramirez.
When an interviewer pointed out that both “The 33” and “The Night Stalker” are helmed by women, Phillips responded, “I sincerely hope it is a bellwether to a change in Hollywood. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with a number of female directors.”
Phillips detailed how having a woman behind the camera influences the environment on set, as well as the film: “I love [that] it is not only [that] they have the technical expertise and the leadership skills to marshal a film crew, [but also that] they bring a sensitivity and an understanding to material that I don’t believe every male has.” He added, “It’s somewhat ironic that in this testosterone-driven film about 33 men in a mine, Patricia Riggen was able to find the heart of it. And in this psychological, horrific thriller, Megan Griffiths, this beautiful lady of light and warmth, is investigating the dark side of humanity.”