Week in Review: Study reveals growing gender gap in film industry

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CareyMulligan

This week, Variety reported on a study that was released confirming what many already know about the film industry, or at the very least anecdotally: Women are having an increasingly hard time breaking in.

The study showed that there’s a large gender gap between independently financed and directed projects by women when compared to projects within the studio system. The Sundance Institute and Women in Film looked at movies in competition at Sundance between 2002 and 2014 compared to the top 1300 grossing films between the same time period. Men appeared at Sundance at a ratio of 3 to 1 more often than women, but an even more staggering 23 to 1 when looking at studio films.

Further, half of the industry executives surveyed believed that films directed by women did not appeal as broadly as films directed by men. A quarter of those surveyed added that they shared a “perceived lack of ambition” in women directors, and nearly half felt there was a scarce pool of talented directors to choose from.

Yet the response this week has already been sharp. We reported this week on Meryl Streep kicking off a screenwriting lab for women over 40, but it was her Suffragette co-star Carey Mulligan who had the most choice words. “In terms of the amount of interesting roles there are for women it’s obviously massively sexist,” Mulligan told Time Out London. “There’s a lack of material for women. A lack of great stories for women.”

Julianne Moore, speaking at CinemaCon, echoed her point and championed the independent film industry. “Working in the indie space has helped my career longevity,” Moore said. “There are (good) parts out there (for women). When people talk about better roles for women in Hollywood, Hollywood isn’t in the business of creating parts for actors. They’re in the business of creating a product. It’s about making a package. If you want interesting parts, they’re not gonna offer them to you.”

Zooey Deschanel, while strumming a ukulele and using an umbrella indoors, told The Huffington Post that she would prefer if people stopped using the word “adorkable” to describe her, saying the word was just part of a New Girl marketing campaign. Here’s an excerpt from HuffPo of her quote:

“I don’t always identify, perhaps, with the way that I’m portrayed in certain public contexts. I try to stay away from that sort of thing,” she explained, adding that the word “adorkable” was a successful New Girl marketing campaign. “That was something that was calculated, you know what I mean? That was our marketing department at Fox and they did a really good job with our first season, but that’s a word that describes the character that I play, not me. I don’t personally have identification with that word myself.”

“In addition, I don’t really care what people think of me,” she continued. “I know that sounds crazy because you’re supposed to care about what people think of you, I guess, as an actor, but I really don’t. Obviously I’m grateful for all of the opportunities that I’ve had thus far, including New Girl, but I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who knows me use that word to describe me, so it’s not of any consequence to me.”

Classic Zooey. Perhaps this is a case of gender bias, in which you wouldn’t likely use a similar label to describe and reduce the characters Adam Sandler plays for instance. Or maybe not. Above, you can watch a video of Deschanel asking Siri if it’s raining.

The Breakfast Club is a staple of Chicago and the Chicagoland area, and as a resident, John Hughes’s film holds a special place in my heart, even in its periodic, censored ABC Family runs. The Chicago Tribune this week, via The Dissolve, reported that an original first draft of the film’s script, penned by Hughes, was found in Maine South High School. The script was dated two years before the film’s release and was also found with several other memorabilia, including a contract to film in the closed Maine North High School.

In an interview with Buzzfeed, Joss Whedon revealed that he felt Edgar Wright’s scrapped treatment of Ant-Man was not only the best thing he’d ever read of Marvel’s, but that it was the most Marvel, i.e. perfectly in line with Marvel’s sensibilities and capable of doing exactly what the property needed to do. “I don’t know where things went wrong,” he told Buzzfeed, referring to Wright’s departure following creative differences with Marvel. “But I was very sad. Because I thought, ‘This is a no-brainer. This is Marvel getting it exactly right.’ Whatever dissonance that came, whatever it was, I don’t understand why it was bigger than a marriage that seemed so right.”

In other Joss Whedon-related news, local, small movie theaters in Germany are reportedly boycotting The Avengers: Age of Ultron from being shown on their screens. According to The Dissolve via a German article, Disney demanded 53 percent of all the earnings. Over 600 theaters are taking part in the boycott.

In casting news, rapper Common has joined Suicide Squad as an undisclosed character. Fred Armisen and Billy Zane have both joined Zoolander 2. Ewan McGregor will play Lumiere in the live action Beauty and the Beast movie, and Stanley Tucci has also joined the film as a new character. Annie Mumolo is reteaming with Melissa McCarthy in the comedy Michelle Darnell. And Daniel Radcliffe and Bill Paxton are officially on board for Grand Theft Auto, about the GTA video game creator Sam Houser.

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