For the first days of the Cannes Film Festival, both the red carpet and La Croisette glimmered in diamonds and star wattage, from Jessica Chastain’s shimmering McQueen to Chloë Sevigny’s insouciant Chanel.
Do you think big movie stars like Matt Damon and Brad Pitt should be held accountable for not working with female directors?
I posted an article from Cosmo awhile back that looked at leading men in Hollywood and how often they had worked with women directors if at all. Some people responded to it by saying that maybe women directors just weren’t that good (which never stopped male directors from making movies) but some said that we shouldn’t blame poor actors who are subject to the whims of casting directors for this which is just hopelessly naive. Not only do Damon, Pitt etc no longer have to audition for anything, they’ve now reached a stage in their careers where they are producers meaning they are the ones who can go out and court directors to work on the scripts THEY like. This also means that they can dismiss directors they don’t like. Catherine Hardwicke and Lexi Alexander both said that they lobbied really hard to direct The Fighter and they were both told that one of the producers refused to even meet with them because they didn’t want a woman to direct.
I remember Brad Pitt saying with total astonishment when he did By the Sea that his wife was the first female director he had ever worked for, like he isn’t a producer and couldn’t have hired any of the many talented women out there any time he wanted. Looking at his imdb page I see he has 44 producing credits and from what I can tell only 3 of those projects were directed by women. One of them includes Selma, but the fact that Ava DuVernay directed that is often credited to David Oyelowo who said that the film pretty much wasn’t going to happen and then he begged them to consider DuVernay who he had worked with on Middle of Nowhere.
Actually Oyelowo is the perfect example of a man who is an ally. Unlike most of his peers the second he got enough clout to get into producing he didn’t forget about the indie directors (many of them women) who cast him when he wasn’t famous. He only has seven producing credits but four of those are for films directed by women. And he loudly and proudly talks about the women directors who helped form his career. Can you imagine where we would be if Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Tom Cruise, men who are now lucky enough to be able to make hiring decisions, would make even 25% of the directors they hired women???