Jessica Chastain Has Penned A Powerful Essay On Gender Equality | Film News
While on the set for the upcoming The Zookeeper’s Wife Jessica Chastain, one of the most vocal actresses on gender equality, shared some powerful observations on the importance of creating diversity in the industry – and striving for parity. “For me, sex really isn’t the qualifier in the way someone directs — but I just know that when you have a set with predominantly one gender, whether it be all men or all women, it’s not going to be a healthy place”.
She is currently on a set where 20 percent of the crew is female and it has her buzzing. Which shows just how overwhelmingly male dominated the industry is – a film set that is 80 percent male is an actual improvement. “Usually on a movie it would be me and maybe two or three other women, even though there are 100 people there. It’s crazy. I loved making the movie Lawless — it was a very masculine story about three brothers — but when Mia Wasikowska showed up on the set, I ran into her trailer and yelled, “It’s a girl!” I was so happy”.
Chastain describes the atmosphere on set as heavenly, touching on the importance of women sticking together and supporting each other. “I was talking to other actors about this recently, and the wonderful thing about having so many women on set is there hasn’t been anyone who has screamed or anything like that. It’s a very collaborative experience, and it’s been heaven for me. We all hang out all the time — there are no strange power plays or egos. We know how rare making this kind of film is. We’re giddy with happiness”.
A vast improvement from sets that are predominately male. Being on sets with a lot of male energy has led to uncomfortable situations, and not only has Chastain felt like a sex object – she’s also had to go through her more influential male co-stars to get her thoughts and opinions across. Proving that film sets aren’t that much different from regular work places.
“But I’ve been on sets a couple of times where I’ve noticed that if I have an idea about a scene, I have to go through the male actors to be heard. It’s really annoying. The male actor will have a better relationship with the male director, so I have to get the actor on my side. That’s the only thing that sometimes feels very icky”.
Chastain does offer up a solution to the inequality that has pervaded Hollywood for far too long. “It’s not a valid excuse to say women don’t call asking to direct superhero movies. Every female director I’ve asked if she’d be interested in directing a big movie like that says, “Hell, yeah.” And if that’s true, it shows how deep-seated the problem is. I don’t think the problem is women; it’s the representation. It goes to the agents. It has to change. This is 2015″.
Head on over to The Hollywood Report to read the full essay.
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