In what’s been billed as the largest ever analysis of film dialogue on gender, Polygraph has dug into approximately 2,000 scripts to give a line by line analysis of how they break down by both age and gender. Eager to dig deeper into the current “prevailing theme” that “white men dominate movie roles,” Hannah Anderson and Matt Daniels “Googled [their] way to 8,000 screenplays and matched each character’s lines to an actor. From there, [they] compiled the number of words spoken by male and female characters across roughly 2,000 films, arguably the largest undertaking of script analysis, ever.” The results weren’t very shocking, at least to anyone who thinks said prevailing theme is much more than just, well, a theme.
Anderson and Daniels’ work goes deep into a number of different types of scripts, including Disney properties, revealing both new information and backing up old claims. For instance, “22 of 30 Disney films have a male majority of dialogue. Even films with female leads, such as ‘Mulan,’ the dialogue swings male. Mushu, her protector dragon, has 50% more words of dialogue than Mulan herself.”
Their research also found information like this: “In 22% of our films, actresses had the most amount of dialogue (i.e., they were the lead). Women are more likely to be in the second place for most amount of dialogue, which occurs in 34% of films. The most abysmal stat is when women occupy at least 2 of the top 3 roles in a film, which occurs in 18% of our films. That same scenario for men occurs in about 82% of films.”
The new look at gender and age in Hollywood scripts is fascinating, but this fresh research is immeasurably bolstered by Polygraph’s rich infographics and interactive graphs: Take a look!