River Phoenix: How do you feel about the way women are portrayed in modern-day cinema?
Gus Van Sant: It’s hard for them to find themselves, really. They’re not really portrayed at all, except in a man’s world.
RP: How do you feel about that? Because in this film you have this character, Carmella, who’s kind of a female cliché.
GVS: Yeah, she’s one of those.
RP: But then you want to do Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, which has to be one of the first books -
GVS: Tracing the notion of a female hero.
RP: Right, so you’re doing that, so that balances this. Some people won’t know that you’re doing that when they see this film and I guess it’s no big deal, except I’ve been kind of curious about that myself. I can’t imagine being an actress today. If I was a woman, I wouldn’t be who I am now. I wouldn’t have had the chance to grow to this point. It’s like a real hard road for someone to get to be like Sissy Spacek or Meryl Streep.
- ‘’My Director and I’’,
Interview Magazine, March 1991.