Paul Feig continues to act as a much-needed champion for women in film. The “Ghostbusters” director and co-writer said that he would add an equity clause to his future film contracts that would require gender-balanced casting for minor roles.
He told The Associated Press, “I think we need to set these things in stone so it forces everybody to think that way.”
The “Spy” helmer was participating in a panel on Hollywood’s gender bias alongside filmmakers Caroline Suh (“The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem”) and Tina Mabry (“Mississippi Damned”), actress Maria Bello (“McFarland, USA”) and academic Stacy L. Smith, who heads the Media, Diversity & Social Change (MDSC) Initiative at USC Annenberg.
Smith recommended that stars with clout consider adding an equity clause in their contracts to help ensure that movies more accurately represent the real world. (Check out the newest installment of UCLA Bunche Center’s annual Hollywood Diversity Report to learn more about just how severely underrepresented women and people of color are on the big-screen, despite the fact that diversity sells.)
Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, has suggested that screenwriters specify the demographics of crowds in their films. She explained, “When describing a crowd scene, write in the script, ‘A crowd gathers, which is half female.’ That may seem weird, but I promise you, somehow or other on the set that day the crowd will turn out to be 17 percent female otherwise. Maybe first ADs think women don’t gather, I don’t know.”
Feig has made a fine career of writing great roles for women and directing women-centric projects. His confidence about audiences being willing — and eager — to see movies about women has paid off handsomely. Just look at his amazing box office numbers for films like “The Heat” and “Bridesmaids.” He’s said that “the roles still aren’t there for women.”
The essayist also publicly denounced studios for not giving female directors the same kinds of opportunities he’s been offered. It’s no wonder that Feig received the inaugural Athena Leading Man Award from the Athena Film Festival earlier this year.
Feig’s frequent collaborator Melissa McCarthy also recently emphasized the need for female filmmakers in Hollywood.
[via Seattle P.I.]