J.J. Abrams is working to make Hollywood a little less less white and a little less male.
Abrams and his writing team added a female character, Rey (Daisy Ridley,) to the center of one of the most beloved film franchises of all-time. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has grossed well over $2 billion worldwide, demonstrating — yet again — that movies with female protagonists make money. The first installment of Abrams’ wildly successful “Star Wars” trilogy also features a black stormtrooper, Finn (John Boyega,) prominently. This casting decision led to a lot of controversy (from bitter racists) prior to the film’s release, but as studies have proven, diversity sells.
Now Abrams, who created “Alias” and co-created “Felicity,” two cult favorite women-centric series, has resolved to make systemic changes at his company. Abrams will be a leader with the goal of making Hollywood more inclusive behind the scenes and onscreen. And remember that research shows who works behind the camera affects who is depicted in front of it, both in terms of race and gender.
Abram’s production company, Bad Robot, is working with its agency CAA, and studio partners to address the underrepresentation of women and people of color in the film industry by requiring that both are submitted for writing, directing and acting gigs in proportion to their numbers in the U.S. population. (To learn more about how badly the business is currently falling short on that front, check out recently released data from UCLA’s Bunche Center.)
“The Oscars controversy was a wake-up call to examine our role in expanding opportunities internally at Bad Robot and externally with our content and partners,” explained Abrams. “It’s good for audiences, and it’s good for the bottom line.”
[via The Hollywood Reporter]