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Remembering Nora Ephron: Talking About Women Directors

Remembering Nora Ephron: Talking About Women Directors

This is from an interview circa 1988 that Hollywood Reporter journalist Tim Appelo did for Savvy Magazine about the troubles Nora Ephron had in trying to get the film Cookie made.

Fox put Susan Seidelman on this movie [Cookie]. We were very happy. Making Mr. Right came out, it was a flop, they wanted her off this movie. We said no, it’s our movie…Now this would never have happened to a man who’d done 3 movies 2 of which had worked. Never. The movie business is a bunch of scared people…I can’t stand people who say, ‘Oh, it’s because I’m a woman that I’m not getting work, and blablabla.’ [But] I know we went into turnaround because she was a woman.

The handful of women directors who exist get penalized for occasional failure in a much worse way than men do. You know the failure of Ishtar is about equal to the failure of Legal Eagles in terms of millions of dollars that went down the drain, but you would never find a studio willing to give Elaine May a big budget movie right after Ishtar and they would all have been happy to hire what’s his name, Ivan Reitman. I don’t mean to put them in the same category, I just mean that there’s no question that women have to stay on top in a way that I don’t think men do. Joan Silver I think has made wonderful movies but I think she’s had a very hard time putting a career together after she did Hester Street, Between the Lines, Chilly Scenes of Winter

So the question is: how much have things changed in the last 20 plus years?  Sadly, not too much.

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