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The 36-year-old reality star's new beauty line earned millions in sales just minutes after launching on Wednesday.
Just minutes after her contour kits went on sale, Kardashian West announced that the medium and light shades of the product were already sold out. All 300,000 kits sold »
Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Ava DuVernay are all collaborating on one of 2018’s most highly anticipated films, “A Wrinkle in Time.” Winfrey and Witherspoon star in the DuVernay-directed adaptation of the beloved sci-fi novel, set to bow early next year. The trio of A-listers have something else in common: they’re among the 24 women to make the cut for The Hollywood Reporter’s Most Powerful People in Entertainment List.
The number of women in this year’s THR 100 marks an improvement from last year’s, when 19 women appeared on the list. Women — such as TV titan Shonda Rhimes, “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins, and producer/ host Ellen DeGeneres — earned spots on the list for acting, producing, directing, and fronting studios. Here are some highlights from the feature:
Witherspoon in “Home Again”
The best advice Witherspoon has received about power: “I had the privilege of working with Oprah Winfrey on a movie for three months this year, and she taught me so much about business. She does not waste a minute of her time, and she does it all with grace and style and humor. She is hustle personified.”
What Witherspoon has learned about her job from her kids: “My kids help me understand emerging platforms and the opportunity there to reach a broader audience. It inspired me to expand my production company into digital and mobile content for women and create a dialogue on social media with my fans.”
The best advice Jenkins has received about power: “I learned to watch the simplicity of shifting power dynamics from [producer] Brad Wyman, who used to break it down for me daily while we were making ‘Monster.’ He has one of the cleanest grasps on power of anyone I’ve ever met because it is totally unfettered by emotion or his own agenda. He’s a pessimist but could always be talked into pointing out the only available avenues for optimism when pushed. I learned a lot from him about the dry simplicity of strategy and patience.”
The object on Jenkins’ desk people would be surprised to see there: “An Avid. I don’t edit my films myself, but I need access to all takes, music, and ways of doing things at all times. It’s the writer in me who wants access to fiddle and learn.”
How Trump has changed Jenkins’ job and life: “I think he has made the messages and discussions I want to have more in-focus and pertinent than ever.”
Who DuVernay would switch jobs with in Hollywood for a day: “[Netflix’s] Ted Sarandos. I’d like to know how it feels to be the industry’s biggest disruptor and have those deep pockets too. I’d make it a shopping day.”
How Trump has changed DuVernay’s job and life: “He’s devastated me in many ways, but each of those ways has made me more determined than before.”
Diane Nelson: Wall Street Journal/YouTube
Who Diane Nelson, President of DC Entertainment, would switch jobs with in Hollywood for a day: “Patty Jenkins. To feel demand for your talent, regardless of gender, and knowing you are creating films that are going to leave lifetime imprints.”
The best advice Nancy Dubuc, President/CEO of A+E Networks, has received about power: “I can’t say there’s been any specific advice that I could quote. But, so many people that I admire, especially those women who have climbed the ranks, from superagents to gifted storytellers and mentors — all taught me by example to respect your use of power and never assume it’s a given, certainly as a woman.”
See below for a complete list of women on the THR 100. Head over to THR for more words of wisdom from the most powerful women in Hollywood.
98. Reese Witherspoon (Actor/producer)
94. Patty Jenkins (Director)
75. Meryl Streep (Actor)
70. Ava DuVernay (Director/producer)
62. Melissa McCarthy (Actor/producer)
44. Nancy Dubuc (President/CEO, A+E Networks
43. Ellen DeGeneres (Host/producer)
41. Jennifer Lawrence (Actor)
37. Shonda Rhimes (Writer/executive producer)
27. Jennifer Salke (President, NBC)
21. Bonnie Hammer (Chairman, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment)
16. Dana Walden (Co-ceo/chairman, Fox TV Group)
9. Oprah Winfrey (CEO, Own)
Oprah Winfrey, Ava DuVernay, & Reese Witherspoon Make THR’s Most Powerful People in Entertainment… was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Vertical Entertainment has snagged the U.S. rights to the Mireille Enos thriller “Never Here,” Deadline reports. The film, which made its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 18, will receive a theatrical release later this year and will air on Starz in 2018.
Written and directed by Camille Thoman (“The Longest Game”), “Never Here” follows Miranda (Enos), an installation artist who is engaging in an affair. When her lover sees a violent crime from Miranda’s apartment, she decides to protect him and report it to the police herself. “Miranda poses as the primary witness, making statements to the police about a crime she did not see, and she begins to create a new piece of work based on these circumstances,” Deadline writes. “It sends Miranda into a maze of doubt and fear, blurring the lines between artist and subject.”
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Starz and the ‘Never Here’ team to bring this incredibly visceral film to audiences,” Vertical co-president Rich Goldberg commented. “Camille’s distinct vision threads an especially unique story that calls for active participation from every viewer.”
“Never Here” also stars Nina Arianda (“Florence Foster Jenkins”), Ana Nogueira (“Vampire Diaries”), Sam Shepard (“Bloodlines”), Goran Visnjic (“Timeless”), Vincent Piazza (“The Intervention”), and Desmin Borges (“You’re the Worst”).
Wonderbar Productions and Before the Door Pictures are producing “Never Here.” Thoman is serving as producer alongside Elizabeth Yng-Wong, Bronwyn Cornelius, Julian Cautherley, Radium Cheung, and Corey Moosa.
Enos starred as Sarah Linden in Veena Sud’s mystery series “The Killing” from 2011 to 2014. The “If I Stay” actress earned a Golden Globe nod for the role. Enos portrayed Alice Vaughan in the Shondaland romantic thriller “The Catch” for two seasons. The ABC show was cancelled earlier this year.
Mireille Enos-Starrer “Never Here” Acquired by Vertical Entertainment was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
The Idyllwild Wimmin’s Music Festival. Various iterations of gender, sexuality, intersectionality, and feminism. Sia. Maura Pfefferman (Jeffrey Tambor) has experienced a bunch of new things since the beginning of “Transparent” — so it’s almost surprising she hasn’t tried edibles yet. With the help of her daughter Ali (Gaby Hoffman), it looks like Maura will officially cross that off her bucket list as well in the upcoming season of Jill Soloway’s Amazon dramedy.
“It’s medical marijuana in this delicious, cute little gummy bear,” Ali explains to her parent in the teaser for “Transparent” Season 4. Wordlessly, Maura pops the gummy into her mouth as Ali looks on in delight. “Uh, I was just gonna have you eat the head,” Ali says. “You’re gonna be so high!”
As for the other Pfeffermans, the teaser hints that Sarah (Amy Landecker) and her ex-husband are growing closer, Ali’s newest passion is Judaism, and Josh (Jay Duplass) is living with mother Shelly (Judith Light).
“Transparent” was created by Soloway, who also serves as showrunner on the Emmy-winning series. Soloway is involved with a number of other projects at Amazon, including the new series “I Love Dick,” based on Chris Kraus’ 1997 epistolary novel, a musical comedy about love and self-discovery, and a limited series about a women’s rodeo.
No word on an official premiere date yet, but the fourth season of “Transparent” is expected in late summer or early fall. Check out the teaser below.
Teaser Watch: Maura Experiments with Edibles in Season 4 of “Transparent” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
Elizabeth Rohrbaugh is writer and director based in NYC. Her documentary, “The Perfect Victim,” was on the PBS series “America Reframed” after premiering at the Hot Springs International Film Festival. The film won a Telly Award and was nominated for a Silver Gavel Award. Rohrbaugh previously worked as a writer and director at MTV, where she won an Emmy Award and multiple Ctam Awards.
W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.
ER: “Becks” is the story of an aimless singer-songwriter who moves back in with her mom, a former nun, after her cross-country move to be with her long-distance girlfriend ends in disaster. After weeks of moping, Becks begins exploring her hometown of St. Louis in a half-baked attempt to put her life back together.
She begins singing and playing music at her friend’s bar where she finds catharsis in playing her breakup music. She meets and befriends the wife of the guy who outed her at prom and starts giving her guitar lessons.
As she struggles to put the pieces of her life together she learns to look at her past from a new perspective and works to let go of co-dependent relationships.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
ER: This story is loosely inspired by a very good friend of mine, Alyssa Robbins, whose music is used throughout the film. She is a singer-songwriter and teacher who was going through a difficult breakup during a time that I was back in my hometown of St. Louis.
She found herself back home with her mom and began touring through the Midwest performing her music at local bars and clubs. She came through St. Louis and played at a tiny retro 24-hour diner on a Sunday night and the show was bizarre and beautiful, and filled with an odd but enthusiastic crowd.
The cathartic and honest nature of her performance even left the owner — a gruff man likely in his mid 70s — in tears as he reflected on his relationship with his own daughter. I left that evening feeling like I had lived a scene from a movie, and became drawn in as I reflected on my own place in life.
Despite the fact that from an outside perspective it would seem that Alyssa and I lived very different lives, we were actually in the exact same place — too old to not have our shit together and too young to be having our respective midlife crises.
Dan Powell and I had been working to collaborate on a feature narrative together and were throwing ideas around when I told him about this experience. We became very inspired by the idea of using a real person as the basis for a character — finding a way to practically incorporate her music, and creating a modern musical.
W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?
ER: I would like for the audience to leave the theater feeling inspired and moved to make an active change in their lives. I know — that’s a tall order.
I hope that the characters feel like real to life, complex, and fully formed people. I would like to send the message that people are messy and imperfect beings, and that nobody really has it figured out.
W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?
ER: Honestly, as far as production goes I had a glorious, amazing, life-changing experience. I had so much fun and Dan and I work splendidly together. It was my first time co-directing and it was wonderful. The entire shoot came together very quickly and having two directors allowed us to give attention to details that could have otherwise gone ignored had we not had the bandwidth.
Finding our key location was very difficult as we needed to be able to find a spot in the NYC area that could pass for suburban St. Louis and had no time and no money. Ultimately I found a place on Airbnb that was perfect and that we could afford.
For me personally, I was in the middle of moving two children and a household from St. Louis to Brooklyn and basically had to ignore living in squalor out of boxes for a couple of months. My parents and husband were incredibly supportive taking me off mom-duty entirely during prep and shooting.
W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.
ER: Our funding came from Dan and my’s production companies, Irony Point and Outer Borough Pictures respectively, along with an investment from Tony Hernandez at Jax Media. Jax also provided us with all of our office space for pre-production and production.
We have a stellar beast of a producer, Alex Bach, who was masterful at making this film happen. I still don’t know quite how she pulled it off with our budget.
Dan and I have also been working in the industry for a decade each and called in all of the favors we had waiting for us.
W&H: What does it mean for you to have your film play at Laff?
ER: I am thrilled and excited and also a nervous wreck! But that is just who I am. I actually love observing an audience watch my work to gauge their reactions to lines, jokes, emotional scenes, and so forth.
To be able to premiere our first feature at one of the top indie film festivals in the country is a dream for me — probably in the way that some people dream about their wedding. I fantasize about film festivals.
W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?
ER: The worst advice I have received — I will not mention who gave it — is that in a relationship only one person can have a focused career, particularly when kids come around. I very briefly followed that advice and was very depressed and unfulfilled. I have since discovered that my professional passions are a large part of my relationship and my family as a whole, and have become a much happier person as a result.
The best advice I have received, from my husband, was to start career and life coaching, which I have done with Betsy Capes at Capes Coaching. It has helped me remove the clutter of insecurity and distraction and helped me focus on getting what I want. It has been a phenomenal way to find my career path.
W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?
ER: My advice is generic but true, which is that this is quite hard and takes a long time. Do this if you love it and if you love it then do it all the way. Make stuff as much as you can. Save up and make a short. But make sure that the script is on point and the casting is the best that it possibly can be — that you have prepared everything.
Hire the best people you can possibly afford, trust them to be professionals, and know what they are talking about. Develop friendships with talented people who you can collaborate with for years to come. Look at your peers — these are the people you will come up with so begin working together now. Develop a shorthand. And trust your vision above all else.
W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.
ER: “Slums of Beverly Hills” by Tamara Jenkins. I haven’t seen it for years and have no idea if it holds up. “The Savages” is probably technically a better movie as I think her style became more nuanced and sophisticated, but I still love “Slums” more.
I was shown her shorts at Nyu in a film class and was immediately obsessed. She spoke the female coming-of-age language in such a fresh and different way and I adored it. I love Kevin Corrigan as the romantic interest in “Slums” and Natasha Lyonne is amazing.
After I saw the shorts I requested an interview with her for a class. She let me come to her apartment and interview her, which devolved into me professing my admiration and asking if I could work for her for free. She politely declined.
W&H: There have been significant conversations over the last couple of years about increasing the amount of opportunities for women directors yet the numbers have not increased. Are you optimistic about the possibilities for change? Share any thoughts you might have on this topic.
ER: I deeply hope that more female filmmakers are recognized by the film community. From my time as a film student at Nyu I have always been aware that this is a male-driven industry and it takes chutzpah to persist in a field where you may not always be taken seriously.
That said, I have had tremendous mentors, male and female, who have supported me wholeheartedly throughout my career. I love working with female crew members on set and feel that it lends itself to a very collaborative process.
When we wrapped “Becks” I said that my life goal is just to get to do this again and again and again. I can only hope that the work resonates with a wide audience because that will ultimately prove our worth.
Unfortunately, getting a movie made is difficult and there is no rule book. I think we need to just keep pushing, and making stuff and moving forward. I’m writing another screenplay right now and will crawl through the mud to get it made.
Laff 2017 Women Directors: Meet Elizabeth Rohrbaugh— “Becks” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Joseph Allen
Jane Campion: cinematographos/YouTube
The Film Society of Lincoln Center (Fslc) has unveiled its schedule of programs and festivals this summer and fall, and a retrospective of director, writer, and showrunner Jane Campion is among the offerings. According to a press release, the “survey of Campion’s rich and revelatory body of work” will be held September 8–20, 2017. The director herself will attend a few select events.
“Since her indelible 1989 debut feature ‘Sweetie,’ New Zealand-born Jane Campion has been one of the most distinctive talents in world cinema,” the press release emphasizes. “For four decades now, Campion has moved freely across genres — family melodrama, gothic romance, literary adaptation, farce, suspense-thriller — and also between cinema and television.” Specific film screenings have not been announced yet, but the press release lauds Campion’s features as “notable for their visual inventiveness, dark sense of humor, and complex depictions of women and sexuality.” It seems likely that movies such as “Sweetie,” “The Piano,” “An Angel at My Table,” “Portrait of a Lady,” and “Bright Star” will be shown.
The retrospective will also mark the U.S. premiere of “Top of the Lake: China Girl,” co-directed and created by Campion. The upcoming season of the acclaimed feminist series sees Elisabeth Moss reprising her role as Detective Robin Griffin, a passionate defender of women and children. Nicole Kidman, Gwendoline Christie (“Game of Thrones), and Alice Englert (“Ginger & Rosa”) also star.
Campion is the first woman and only female director to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. She received the honor in 1993 for “The Piano,” (which also earned her the Best Screenplay Oscar). She also took home the Short Palme in 1986 for her short film “Peel.” With the exception of “Blue Is the Warmest Color” stars Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux — who won a special Palme d’Or with director Abdellatif Kechiche in 2013 — no woman has ever won the award since.
“Too long! Twenty-four years! And before that, there was no one. It’s insane,” Campion said of her Palme d’Or win at Cannes this year. “And I’m really annoyed that the director-ess from ‘Toni Erdmann’ [Maren Ade] didn’t win last time. I thought, ‘Finally, a buddy.’ No. No! There’s no more guys winning. That’s it. It’s just going to be women winning from now on.”
In addition to the Campion retrospective, Fslc will also host “Talking Pictures: The Cinema of Yvonne Rainer,” from July 21 to 27. The “Lives of Performers” helmer’s work “signaled new directions for film language, retooling narrative generally and melodrama specifically with a disjunctive audiovisual syntax, restless political intelligence, deft appropriation, and deadpan wit,” the press release summarizes. The program’s lineup will feature films directed by and starring Rainer as well as projects that informed her work.
Head over to the Fslc website for additional details and ticket info.
“Top of the Lake: China Girl” airs this fall on SundanceTV.
Film Society of Lincoln Center to Host Jane Campion Retrospective was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
“I think everyone at this table is mission-driven,” Reese Witherspoon observed while participating in a roundtable hosted by The Hollywood Reporter. The Oscar winner explained, “We all have a mission to understand the greater humanity of women and to promote that.” Joining the “Big Little Lies” star in the discussion were other TV drama actresses with awards buzz: her “Bll” co-star Nicole Kidman, Oprah Winfrey (“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”), Jessica Lange (“Feud: Bette and Joan”), Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), and Chrissy Metz (“This Is Us”).
The six stars addressed their responsibilities as storytellers, how the current political climate is affecting art, the different opportunities working in TV vs. film, portraying trauma onscreen, and plenty of other topics.
Here are some of the highlights of the discussion:
If they feel a sense of obligation to shed light on certain topics:
Witherspoon: “[Yes, by] just examining the human condition and also putting a bigger array and a more dynamic idea of what a woman is and what her experience is — and I think it has been such a great year. I look around the table [and think] about what these shows are and the topics that are coming up because of these shows, and it’s incredible. I have been talking about [‘The Handmaid’s Tale’] ad infinitum at dinner parties because it feels possible. I mean, you’re jogging and then you go in to buy a coffee and your credit card doesn’t work anymore. It could be any one of us.”
Lange: “We started shooting in September, before the election, and Ryan [Murphy, the showrunner] said he was thinking, ‘Well, we’ll make this piece about misogyny, sexism, ageism, all of this, but come the beginning of the year, it might just be ironic.’ But of course …”
Moss: “It wasn’t.”
Lange: “No, we took a different turn, and I think it’s more relevant now than it could have possibly been at any other time. I don’t think we’ve ever seen this much misogyny, this much sexism, and I think the fact that we have this story that is set in a particular period, but obviously Hollywood in the 1960s, is just a microcosm of the greater atmosphere that we are all living through now.”
How Moss prepares for her rape scenes on “The Handmaid’s Tale”:
Moss: “I just thought, ‘What would one do in this situation?’ Which sounds so oversimple, perhaps, but I was just like, ‘If you were being sexually assaulted on a regular basis and you knew there was nothing you could do about it, what would you do?’ There’s no escape and you can’t fight back. And so I thought, ‘Well, she would probably try not to be there — try to go somewhere else.’”
Kidman: “Oh, yeah, that was so apparent.”
Moss: “You can’t be there. You can’t experience it. You wouldn’t make it. Which happens to women in that world; they don’t make it. So I was trying to show that she wasn’t there. And in the shooting of it, it was really important for us to have it be extremely clinical, mechanical; there’s nothing remotely sexual about it. It was really important to show it exactly for what it should be. That no one is enjoying this. That all three parties are in a terrible place.”
Why Winfrey is drawn to stories that depict sexual violence:
Oprah Winfrey: THR
Winfrey: “I keep trying to share with the world what it means not just to be sexually violated but what it means to have someone who is a predator in your own space and to be preyed upon. Just as Reese was saying, we’re all about sharing the story that is going to raise consciousness on any level. I tried to do it for many years [on my talk show]. I did 127 interviews with victims of molestation, sexual abuse, sexual violence, or the molesters and rapists themselves in one form or another. And at the end of the show, I said it’s the one message I think I failed at — allowing people to see the depth of the pain, because everybody looks at the act itself, particularly when it comes to sexual molestation, and they want to know: Was there penetration or not? So I tried and tried and tried and tried. Now I’m doing it through our storyline on ‘Greenleaf’ [on Own]. I try to do it with the subjects that I choose, the books that I choose, always trying to let people see the light of that.”
Witherspoon: “Sometimes art is a way that sort of removes you in a certain capacity.”
Winfrey: “I think it’s actually the best opportunity for people to see themselves.”
On what has and hasn’t changed in Hollywood since 1962, the year “Feud” is set in:
Lange: “When we were doing it, it was never with that thought of, ‘Oh, we’re doing a story that is still relevant today.’ But I’m at this point in my career where things have really dropped off. The idea that these women [Bette Davis and Joan Crawford] by their mid-50s were done, that the industry was finished with them, to a certain degree that still is the case. But TV has kind of stepped into that void that is left when your film career begins to really thin out. (Laughter.) And the characters that I’m playing now are as rich as the characters that I was playing in my 30s and 40s in films.”
Kidman: “I have turned down films to do TV because I love the seven hours of exploring a character, and it reaches more people. It costs so much money to make films and to market them and get them out there that they do have to be events or superhero movies.”
Witherspoon: “And people want to see all ages, ethnicities, and cultures represented.”
Winfrey: The audience responded to ‘This Is Us’ because they were thinking, “This is us.” So, it’s a perfect title.”
Metz: We had a contest, and [showrunner] Dan [Fogelman] was like, ‘We’ll give an iPad to whoever names the show.’ I think my title was ‘This Is Me and You’ or something along those lines. So I like to say that I had a hand in it. (Laughter.)”
On Hollywood’s tendency to lock people into lanes and expecting the actresses to play particular kinds of roles:
Chrissy Metz: THR
Metz: “Comedy was really my thing, and I guess they were like, ‘Oh, it’s the sad big girl; we better put her in some drama.’ I’m kidding, but I would love to do comedy. I would also love to do a project that is not about weight. So just a woman who happens to be going for a job interview or whatever. Slowly but surely it will happen.”
Witherspoon: “I started a production company five years ago because I was looking at maybe the worst script I’ve ever read in my entire life and it had two parts for women. I called my agents and said, ‘This is such a terrible script.’ They said, ‘Well, seven women want it so … you’re the only one who’s not vying for the part.’ And I thought, ‘God, if this is what we’ve come to, I have to get busy.’ Because you can either complain about a problem or you can be part of the solution.”
Kidman: “We created the show for that reason. The other thing is, being a woman and having children, there are so many things I would want to do, but so much of my life is, how do I balance that? If I had my fantasy life, there are so many roles and places and things I’d want to do. I’m now at a point where I have to go, ‘What is that going to cost me? And what is that going to cost the people I love? Do I want to leave now to do this?’ Men have that, but they don’t have it in the same way that we have it.”
Witherspoon: “They go away and come back and they’re a hero. We go away and come back and we have abandoned our children. (Laughs)”
Kidman: “We don’t get the choices as much with our careers and our lives because a lot of it is, we have to be there to take care of everything still. Or I do. And so a lot of my fantasy life is that I can go and read a play and then I’ve done it. I then don’t have to go and actually do it because I have done it in my bedroom. And that’s what I realized at this stage of my life. That’s going to have to be enough.”
Whether it’s possible to change that paradigm:
Witherspoon: “No, that’s a choice you’re making. I was talking to this very famous actor and I said, ‘How did you prepare for this role?’ He said, ‘Well, I went into the woods for three weeks and I didn’t talk to anybody.’ And this person has a lot of kids and is married. And he’s like, ‘You did the same thing for ‘Wild,’ right?’ I was like, ‘Uh, no.’ If I went away for three weeks and no one could call me, everybody would’ve had a mental breakdown. I got on a plane and was shooting within 24 hours. I wish I had prep time. I love the preparation. I love watching and reading and digging deep.”
Lange: “What happens is you pack [your children] up like a little troupe of gypsies with the dogs and you find another school and you do all that when you get to location, and you don’t have time to do any prep because you’re trying to find them art classes and …”
Witherspoon: “And camp.”
Kidman: “And then they have strep throat and you’re up at night.”
Lange: “But the only thing that I ever have regretted is saying yes to a film and the time that has taken me away from my children. I wish I had said no.”
Witherspoon: “I did a movie every time I was pregnant, and I wish that I hadn’t. I just wish I’d just let myself be pregnant.”
Lange: “Yeah, just be pregnant, be home with the kids, don’t have something that you have to get up at 5 a.m. for. Those are the regrets, not the ones that you said no to but the ones you said yes to.”
Check out more of the roundtable, including video footage, over at THR.
Winfrey, Witherspoon, Kidman, Lange, and More Talk Hollywood’s Double Standards and Portraying… was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Cyndi Lauper: Lauper’s Instagram account/ Sam Ruttyn
Cyndi Lauper is bringing her musical chops to Broadway again. The “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” singer will write the music and lyrics for the upcoming “Working Girl” stage musical, Entertainment Weekly writes.
Playwright and TV writer Kim Rosenstock (“Tigers Be Still,” “New Girl”) will pen the book for “Working Girl” from Kevin Wade’s original film script. Fox Stage Productions and Aged in Wood Productions are producing. A director has not been announced.
“Working Girl” is based on the 1988 Mike Nichols film of the same name, which stars Melanie Griffith, Sigourney Weaver, and Harrison Ford. It centers on Tess McGill (Griffith), secretary to corporate exec Katharine Parker (Weaver). When Katharine steals a business idea from Tess, Tess decides to get revenge by working her way up and taking Katharine’s job. Tess also ends up falling for her boss’ boyfriend (Ford) along the way.
“‘Working Girl’ was a groundbreaking depiction of a working-class woman determined to succeed in the cutthroat, male-dominated corporate world of the 1980s,” Fox Stage and Aged in Wood emphasized in a statement. “Funny and smart, this now-iconic tale is just as relevant today — and who better to adapt it for Broadway than Cyndi Lauper, who’s been a change maker in music since the ’80s, and Kim Rosenstock of the hit TV series ‘New Girl?’”
“I’m really excited for so many reasons,” Lauper added. “I love the film, and its story about a woman’s very unconventional road to success in the ’80s is something I know a lot about. Women are still fighting for fundamental rights and equal pay!”
Lauper made history as the first woman to win the Tony for Best Original Score. She took home the award in 2013 for her work on “Kinky Boots.” The musical, also based on a film, earned Lauper the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album in 2014. She won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1985. Lauper has sold over 50 million records throughout her career. She’ll be honored by Lgbt channel Logo at its upcoming 2017 Trailblazing Honors.
Cyndi Lauper Writing Music and Lyrics for “Working Girl” Stage Musical was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
Former “Doctor Who” companion Karen Gillan is set to receive the Rising Star Award at the 2017 Maui Film Festival, Variety reports. Since her days on the beloved BBC time-traveling series the actress has gone on to star in horror hit “Oculus,” the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise, the short-lived but well-received ABC comedy “Selfie,” and Oscar winner “The Big Short.” Plus, the Scottish star has two blockbusters on the way: “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” The former is filming and the latter is in post-production.
“Perfection and synchronicity in the Universe work in mysterious ways. Among them is the opportunity to honor Karen Gillan with the Maui Film Festival’s 2017 Rising Star Award — under the stars and lit by the moon at the Celestial Cinema — for the way her work has enriched us all through her eclectic and powerful performances to date and, I’m sure, in many triumphant decades yet to come,” said Barry Rivers, founder and director of the Maui Film Festival.
Gillan just wrapped production on her feature directorial debut, “The Party’s Just Beginning.” Formerly known as “Tupperware Party,” the film is set in Scotland and centers on a girl dealing with the suicide of her best friend. Gillan penned the script. “I have been concentrating on acting for, I guess, the last decade. But when I first started off when I was a young child expressing an interest in all this I had a video camera and was directing little short films,” she told the BBC.
Karen Gillan to Receive Rising Star Award at the Maui Film Festival was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland and Norway: Scandinavia has always made a good show of films in all festivals, but this is the first time in 17 years a Swedish film has been in Competition.
“The Square” is the first Swedish film in Competition in 17 years! Winner of the Palme D’or and the Vulcain Prize for an artist technician awarded by the C.S.T. Director Ruben Östlund attracted producers from Sweden, Germany, France and Denmark to tell this tale of the successful curator of a modern art museum who lives in the epicenter of the art community and takes his work very seriously. A few days before the opening of the prestigious exhibition The Square he is mugged, which he can neither shake off or let pass unnoticed. He embarks on a hunt for the perpetrator and ends up in situations that turn steadily more amusing, and make him question his own moral compass. »
- Sydney Levine
Anna Serner, Filminstitutet. Foto: Fredrik Sandberg/ScanpixAnna Serner, CEO of the Swedish Film Institute (Sfi) has been leading the way for gender equality on a global scale for at least the past five years and has become a sort of godmother to all the woman striving and thriving in Cannes.
She not only encouraged the collection of statistics of women filmmakers in Sweden and abroad which could then be used to calculate public funding to create parity but as been the preeminent global lobbyist. In 2016, 64% of the Sfi’s production funding when to female directors which means that from 2013–2016, Sfi funding was 50% female and 50% male. In 2017 the Sfi funding is expecte to be 40% for female directors.
50/50 by 2020 — Global Reach was held in Cannes for the second year, hosted by Sfi, Wift Nordic and the Marche and included talk with such filmmakers a Agnieszka Holland and Jessica Hausner, a presentation by »
- Sydney Levine
Throughout her 30-year-plus career, Cyndi Lauper has been known as an outspoken advocate of Lgbt rights, so it comes as no surprise that the Grammy winner will be honored by Logo at its 2017 Trailblazing Honors event. Launched in 2005, the lifestyle channel is targeted to the Lgbt community.
“The television network praised the 63-year-old singer-songwriter for her advocacy through song and theater,” Page Six writes. In 2008, the “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” singer co-founded the True Colors Fund “to help address homelessness among Lgbt youth.” She’s participated in gay pride events across the globe and serves as a member of the Matthew Shepard Foundation Board, an Lgbt nonprofit organization founded by the parents of Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student who was beaten to death in 1998.
When asked about what got her involved in the fight for Lgbt rights, Lauper said, “My sister is part of the community, and my friends are part of the community … I started to see discrepancies and things that weren’t right, and I didn’t want to just shut my mouth, because I don’t believe in that.”
As for the impact of her advocacy, the singer observed, “Everybody can create change around them by changing their mind about someone else, and including people, and also… if you want to change the world, change what’s right around you.”
Lauper has sold over 50 million records.
The 2017 Trailblazer Honors will be held in New York on June 22. The event will air as an hourlong special the following day on VH1 and Logo.
Cyndi Lauper to Receive Logo Trailblaizer Honors for Her Lgbt Activism was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
If you find dinner parties awkward, prepare to cringe your way through a new trailer for Salma Hayek-starrer “Beatriz at Dinner.” Beatriz (Hayek) has way more to deal with than dinner companions droning on about their boring jobs or chewing with their mouths open. The party escalates into an all-out war.
“At an elegant dinner party in a swanky hilltop home, conversation between a soft-spoken holistic healer and a hard-nosed businessman explodes into a bitter clash of cultures,” the film’s synopsis details.
The spot shows how Beatriz wasn’t initially invited to the party. She came to practice on the host (Connie Britton, “Nashville”) before the festivities kicked off and car trouble prevented her from leaving.
At the dinner table, Beatriz begins a story: “When I first came to the United States a long time ago — .” She’s interrupted mid-sentence by the wildly obnoxious billionaire, Doug (John Lithgow), who asks, “Did you come legally?”
Doug values profit over people and the future of the environment. “The world is dying,” Beatriz says. Unfazed and unimpressed, a smirking Doug responds, “Elephants are dying, bees are dying.” Doug will undoubtedly earn comparisons to another privileged businessman who denies climate change and is suspicious of — and hostile towards — immigrants.
“Beatriz at Dinner” made its world premiere at Sundance in January. The ensemble cast includes Chloë Sevigny (“Bloodline”) and Amy Landecker (“Transparent”). Directed by Miguel Arteta (“The Good Girl”), “Beatriz at Dinner” hits theaters June 9.
Trailer Watch: Salma Hayek Takes on a Trump-Like Figure in “Beatriz at Dinner” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
The actor will star in the first installment of producer Dick Wolf’s anthology series as Los Angeles judge Stanley Weisberg, who oversaw the murder trial of brothers Lyle (Miles Gaston Villanueva) and Erik Menendez (Gus Halper), our sister site Deadline reports. The show’s cast also includes Edie Falco (The Sopranos) as defense attorney Leslie Abramson.
Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders premieres this fall on NBC. »
Carey Mulligan has booked her next role. The Oscar-nominated actress will topline “On the Other Side,” a drama about the experiences of real-life Vietnam war correspondent Kate Webb. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mulligan is also set to produce the film, which will begin production in spring 2018.
“On the Other Side” will see Mulligan portray Webb, “a trailblazing journalist for Upi [United Press International] who would pave the way for all the female war correspondents that came after her,” THR details. The film is based on Webb’s book “On the Other Side: 23 Days with the Vietcong,” an autobiographical account of the three weeks she was held in captivity.
Topic, a First Look Media entertainment studio, will co-produce and finance the film. Also producing are Picture Films’ Margot Hand (Reed Morano’s “Meadowland”) and Ebm Productions’ Edet Belzberg (“Children Underground”). Annie Marter and Adam Pincus are overseeing the project for Topic. No word on a writer or director yet.
“I’m so excited to bring Kate Webb’s remarkable story to the screen,” Mulligan said in a statement. “Her integrity, curiosity about the unknown, and tenacity set her apart from many other journalists of her time and ultimately saved her life. In a world of increasing division, I can’t think of a more relevant character to portray today — someone who’s very survival depended on her desire to understand the other side of the story, to obtain the truth, and to report it faithfully.”
Mulligan’s breakout project was Lone Scherfig’s “An Education,” in which she played Jenny Mellor, an intelligent but naive student embarking on an affair with an older man. The actress received an Academy Award nod and a BAFTA award for the role. Her recent credits include Sarah Gavron’s women’s rights drama “Suffragette,” “Far From the Madding Crowd,” and “Inside Llewyn Davis.”
You can catch Mulligan next in Dee Rees’ “Mudbound,” which follows two families — one black, one white — in the post-wwii South. The film premiered at Sundance earlier this year, where Netflix acquired it for $12.5 million. It is expected to hit theaters this fall. Mulligan will also star as Di Kip Glaspie in “Collateral,” a BBC miniseries helmed by S.J. Clarkson (“Jessica Jones”), currently in pre-production.
“When will [the film industry] catch up with the fact that [women-centric] films do well? It’s just like what Cate Blanchett said at the Oscars. The hunger for female-driven stories is there. You just have to make the films,” Mulligan told Women and Hollywood while promoting “Suffragette” in 2015. “This shock over how these films do so well is a bit tired now. Jennifer Lawrence can open movies like any male star.”
Carey Mulligan to Topline and Produce Film About Vietnam War Reporter Kate Webb was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
Cannes 2017 has come to a close and, happily, honored several female directors, writers, and performers. While the 70th edition of the fest has been consistently marked with sexism onscreen and off, it’s heartening to see women like Nicole Kidman, Sofia Coppola, Lynne Ramsay, and Agnès Varda be celebrated for their work. They were among the honorees selected by the festival jury, which included Jessica Chastain, Maren Ade, Fan Bingbing, and Agnès Jaoui.
Kidman took home a specially created 70th Anniversary prize. The Oscar winner had four projects at Cannes this year: Coppola’s Civil War-era gothic “The Beguiled,” Jane Campion’s series “Top of the Lake: China Girl,” the alien comedy-romance “How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” and the mystery “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.” This definitely seems to be the actress’ year and her victory at Cannes could mean good things to come at the Emmys and Oscars.
Coppola was named Best Director for her work on “The Beguiled,” the first woman to win the award in 50 years. The feminist reimagining of 1971 Clint Eastwood drama sees Coppola reuniting with her “Marie Antoinette” and “Virgin Suicides” star Kirsten Dunst as well as Elle Fanning, who toplined Coppola’s “Somewhere.” “Toni Erdmann” helmer Maren Ade accepted the award on Coppola’s behalf and read her thank-you speech. Coppola paid tribute to her family and Campion, the first and only woman to ever win the Palme d’Or, for being such a great role model for other female directors.
Ramsay is the first solo woman to win the screenwriting prize. The writer-director won for her “You Were Never Really Here” screenplay. The film centers on a veteran and former FBI agent turned hired vigilante (Joaquin Phoenix) trying to save a young woman (Ekaterina Samsonov) from a sex trafficking ring. Ramsay tied with “The Killing of a Sacred Deer’s” Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou for the honor.
Varda and graffiti artist and photographer Jr were honored with the Golden Eye (L’Oeil d’Or) prize for their documentary “Faces, Places” (“Visages, Villages”), per The Hollywood Reporter. The doc follows Varda and Jr as they make their way through rural France, photographing and interviewing the people they encounter. As they awarded the duo, the jury said they were “deeply moved” by the film, describing it as “delicate and generous.” The directors received €5,000 ($5,590 Usd) as part of the prize.
Among the other female Cannes honorees are Diane Kruger, who was named Best Actress for her “In the Fade” performance, and Chloe Zhao, who took home the Directors’ Fortnight Art Cinema Award for “The Rider,” a portrait of a Lakota cowboy.
The full list of Cannes 2017’s female award winners is below. Adapted from ScreenDaily and two THR reports.
Diane Kruger (“In the Fade”)
Best Screenplay (Tie)
“Jeune Femme” (Léonor Sérraille)
70th Anniversary Prize
“Faces, Places” (Agnès Varda and Jr)
Art Cinema Award (Directors’ Fortnight)
Sacd Award (Tie)
“Lover for a Day” (Philippe Garrel)
Cannes 2017: Nicole Kidman, Sofia Coppola, & More Take Home Awards was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
By Joseph Allen and Kelsey Moore
If the movies are any indication, then we are in for one hot yet refreshing summer. Some of the season’s biggest and action-filled flicks feature powerful, female-led narratives, and goodness, do they come out in full force. The much anticipated female-led “Wonder Woman” is the first to hit summer screens, and if that’s not giving the finger to the male-dominated blockbuster, we don’t know what is.
July also has its fair share of action with Charlize Theron’s “Atomic Blonde.” This spy thriller sends Theron’s character to Berlin during the Cold War in order to save one agent whilst exposing others.
In between superheroes and spies, however, there are plenty of festival darlings and lighthearted comedies to enjoy. Marti Noxon’s “To The Bone,” which premiered at Sundance, features Lily Collins as a young woman battling anorexia. The film is based on Noxon’s own experience with an eating disorder and truthfully tackles the fine line between self-acceptance and despair. Gillian Robespierre’s “Landline” reunites Robespierre with “Obvious Child’s” Elisabeth Holm and Jenny Slate. It tackles the messiness of family, growing up, and adultery.
“Girls Trip,” on the other hand, is the perfect comedy to help beat the summer heat. Featuring the talents of Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish, this ensemble film follows four friends as they rekindle both their friendships and sense of adventure during a girl’s weekend to New Orleans.
August brings a slew of socially conscious titles, including several directed by women. Kathryn Bigelow’s highly anticipated follow-up to “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Detroit,” tells the story of the 1967 Detroit riots, and speaks to our present moment, one where it feels like little has changed in the 50 years since.
“Whose Streets?,” a documentary about the Ferguson protests, speaks to “Detroit’s” continued relevance as a story of racial animus. Co-director Sabaah Folayan gives us an inside look at the protests, and takes the temperature of a community still filled with righteous anger.
Sundance breakout “Step,” directed by Amanda Lipitz, also debuts in August. The documentary chronicles the hardships of a Baltimore school’s step team during their senior year, and explains how important the team has become for the girls on it.
Here are just some of many women-centric, women-directed, and women-written films releasing this summer. Be sure to keep up with Women and Hollywood for exhaustive monthly previews!
All descriptions are from press materials unless otherwise noted.
Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.
Did you know? Gal Gadot has been very adamant about the film’s feminist framework, stressing that Diana is “free of internalized sexism and any knowledge whatsoever of socialized gender roles.”
“Beatriz at Dinner”
“Beatriz at Dinner”
Beatriz (Salma Hayek), an immigrant from a poor town in Mexico, has drawn on her innate kindness to build a career as a health practitioner in Southern California. Don Strutt (John Lithgow) is a real estate developer whose cutthroat tactics have made him a self-made, self-satisfied billionaire. When these two polar opposites meet at a dinner party, their worlds collide and neither will ever be the same.
Did you know? “Beatriz at Dinner” opens this year’s Sundance Film Festival London, and certainly feels like a timely release. In fact, John Lithgow’s character reminds us of a certain real-world real estate developer who is currently inhabiting the Oval Office.
“Maudie,” based on a true story, is an unlikely romance in which the reclusive Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke) hires a fragile yet determined woman named Maudie (Sally Hawkins) to be his housekeeper. Maudie, bright-eyed but hunched with crippling arthritis, yearns to be independent, to live away from her protective family and she also yearns, passionately, to create art. Unexpectedly, they become a couple. “Maudie” charts a woman seeking her personal freedom, her unending fight to sustain it, and her surprising rise to fame as a folk painter.
Did you know? Maud Lewis was a Canadian folk artist who possessed no formal training. “Maudie” — which is currently playing in Canada — has ignited a renewed interest in her work. In fact, a painting recently found in a thrift shop just sold for $45,000, approximately three times its appraised value.
In this edgy R-rated comedy, five best friends from college (played by Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, and Zoë Kravitz) reunite 10 years later for a wild bachelorette weekend in Miami. Their hard partying takes a hilariously dark turn when they accidentally kill a male stripper. Amidst the craziness of trying to cover it up, they’re ultimately brought closer together when it matters most.
Did you know? Some would call this a gender-reversed redo of the late ‘90s film “Very Bad Things,” starring Christian Slater. But, let’s be honest: with this ensemble of A-listers and comedic geniuses — we’re looking at you, Kate McKinnon and Ilana Glazer — Aniello’s film is sure to bring a lot more laughs and intrigue.
“The Beguiled” is an atmospheric thriller from acclaimed writer/director Sofia Coppola. The story unfolds during the Civil War, at a Southern girls’ boarding school. Its sheltered women (Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Emma Howard, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, and Addison Riecke) take in an injured enemy soldier (Colin Farrell). As they provide refuge and tend to his wounds, the house is taken over with sexual tension and dangerous rivalries, and taboos are broken in an unexpected turn of events.
Did you know? Director Sofia Coppola does not consider this a remake of the 1971 film. Instead, she wanted to “tell the same story, but flip it to the women characters’ point of view” as they were the ones “cut off during that time, left behind during the war.”
Ellen (Lily Collins) is an unruly, anorexic 20-year-old who spent the better part of her teenage years being shepherded through various recovery programs, only to find herself several pounds lighter every time. Determined to find a solution, her dysfunctional family agrees to send her to a group home for youths, which is led by a non-traditional doctor (Keanu Reeves). Surprised by the unusual rules — and charmed by her fellow patients — Ellen has to discover for herself how to confront her addiction and attempt self-acceptance, in order to stand a chance against her demons. (Sundance Film Institute)
Did you know? This is a deeply personal project for Noxon. As she discussed with Women and Hollywood, she, too, battled anorexia and bulimia for over 10 years. By exploring this experience in her film, Noxon aims to show just how real these diseases are and how far they are from “an issue of vanity.”
Rural England, 1865. Katherine (Florence Pugh) is stifled by her loveless marriage to a bitter man twice her age (Paul Hilton), and his cold, unforgiving family. When she embarks on a passionate affair with a young worker (Cosmo Jarvis) on her husband’s estate, a force is unleashed inside her so powerful that she will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
Did you know? Though she made a memorable impression in Carol Morley’s “The Falling” and TV crime thriller “Marcella,” this marks the first major leading role for Florence Pugh, who is receiving fantastic reviews for her performance.
When four lifelong friends (Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish) travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling, and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.
Did you know? Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith have not been onscreen together since 1996. Their first collaboration, “Set it Off” (also starring Vivica A. Fox and Kimberly Elise), examines the personal and financial struggles of four women who decide to start robbing banks together.
The Manhattan of 1995: a land without cell phones, but abundant in CD listening stations, bar smoke, and family dysfunction. Enter the Jacobs. Eldest daughter Dana’s (Jenny Slate) looming marriage to straight-laced Ben (Jay Duplass) prompts a willful dive into her wild side, while her younger sister, Ali (Abby Quinn), is still in high school but leads a covert life of sex, drugs, and clubbing. After discovering love letters penned by their father (John Turturro), the sisters try to expose his apparent affair while keeping it from their all-too-composed mother (Edie Falco). (Sundance Film Institute)
Did you know? Gillian Robespierre and Elisabeth Holm previously collaborated on critically acclaimed “Obvious Child,” which also stars Jenny Slate. As Ropespierre told Women and Hollywood, her new film explores the “female perspective of monogamy across multiple generations.”
The crown jewel of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is equal parts spycraft, sensuality, and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on her impossible mission. Sent alone into Berlin to deliver a priceless dossier out of the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies.
Did you know? Charlize Theron fought for her character’s no-strings-attached, one-night stand with a female agent. After all, as Theron herself rhetorically asks, “Why is it that James Bond can sleep with every girl in every movie” and nobody questions his lack of emotional investment?
A decade after “An Inconvenient Truth” brought climate change into the heart of popular culture, comes the riveting and rousing follow-up that shows just how close we are to a real energy revolution. Vice President Al Gore continues his tireless fight traveling around the world training an army of climate champions and influencing international climate policy. Cameras follow him behind the scenes — in moments both private and public, funny and poignant — as he pursues the inspirational idea that while the stakes have never been higher, the perils of climate change can be overcome with human ingenuity and passion.
Did you know? During an interview with Women and Hollywood, Cohen explained that she wanted audiences to leave the film feeling “empowered — like change is possible and in their hands.” This thirst for change continues throughout her personal work; she is a co-founder of the Catapult Film Fund, which provides development funding and informal mentorship to documentarians.
“From the Land of the Moon” — Co-Written and Directed by Nicole Garcia
“From the Land of the Moon”
In 1950s France, Gabrielle (Marion Cotillard) is a passionate, free-spirited woman who is in a loveless marriage and falls for another man (Louis Garrel) when she is sent away to the Alps to treat an illness. Gabrielle yearns to free herself and run away with André.
Did you know? “From the Land of the Moon” was one of only three female-directed films that played in competition at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Garcia’s work was in good company, as Andrea Arnold’s “American Honey” and Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann” also graced the screen. Think this year’s Cannes is any better? Check out Women and Hollywood’s infographic and festival thoughts.
Baltimore is a city that is fighting to save its youth. This documentary chronicles the trials and triumphs of the Senior girls on the high school’s Step Team as they prepare to be the first in their families to go to college — and the first graduating class of The Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women. “Step” is more than just a hobby for these girls, it is the outlet that keeps them united and fighting for their goals.
Did you know? “Step” was awarded the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Inspirational Filmmaking at Sundance 2017 and was picked up at the festival by Fox Searchlight for $4 million.
In the summer of 1967, a handful of rioters took over the city of Detroit following a police raid on an unlicensed bar. Army paratroopers, National Guardsmen, and state and local police were called on to help put a stop to the rioting, which lasted for five days. What sparked the riots was the racism and discrimination of the police force that was felt within the city by the African American population.
Did you know? This is the third collaboration between Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, who also worked together on “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Hurt Locker.” Both Bigelow and Boal won Oscars for the latter.
Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) is an unstable young woman with a checkered past of obsessive behavior. She secretly moves to Los Angeles to get close to Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) — an Instagram “lifestyle guru” with a fabulous artist boyfriend, a camera-ready terrier, and an array of new products and brands to promote to her followers. After Ingrid adopts a Taylor-made identity for herself, her machinations to prove she’s Bff material for her Insta idol are underway — that is, until she meets Taylor’s obnoxious brother Nicky (Billy Magnussen), who threatens to tear down her façade. (Sundance Film Festival)
Did you know? “Ingrid Goes West” won the Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance 2017, and was picked up by distributor Neon.
Based on one of the longest-running New York Times bestsellers, “The Glass Castle” tells the story of Jeannette Walls’ (Brie Larson) unconventional upbringing at the hands of her deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant parents (Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson), and her journey towards acceptance and fulfillment.
“Whose Streets?” (Documentary) — Co-Directed by Sabaah Folayan
The activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice bring you “Whose Streets?” — a documentary about the Ferguson uprising. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and then left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis County. Grief, long-standing tension, and renewed anger bring residents together to hold vigil and protest this latest tragedy. In the days that follow, artists, musicians, teachers, and parents turn into freedom fighters, standing on the front lines to demand justice. As the National Guard descends on Ferguson, a small suburb of St. Louis, with military grade weaponry, these young community members become torchbearers of a new wave of resistance.
Did you know? As Sabaah Folayan told Women and Hollywood, “Whose Streets?” exists to “honor those who put their lives and livelihoods on the line to fight for our constitutional rights.”
In a coming-of-age story straight out of Jersey, an unlikely rapper (Danielle Macdonald) finds her voice as a one-of-a-kind hip-hop legend in the making in “Patti Cake$,” the first feature film from acclaimed commercial and music video director Geremy Jasper. Set in gritty strip-mall suburbia, “Patti Cake$” chronicles an underdog’s quest for fame and glory with humor, raw energy, and some unforgettable beats.
Did you know? The film has been compared to “8 Mile” and “Hustle & Flow,” but it’s a departure from these films because its central figure is a woman. “Patti Cake$” examines the barriers women face in entering the world of hip hop. At the same time, it questions whether its central figure is appropriating black culture.
“The Unknown Girl”
“The Unknown Girl”
Dr. Jenny Davin (Adèle Haenel) runs a busy bare-bones medical clinic on the outskirts of Liege. Late one night, hours past closing time, Jenny ignores a buzz at the clinic’s door. The next morning she learns that this buzz came from a young woman in need of help, and that this unidentified caller is now dead. Weighed down by guilt and the thought of an unknown girl in an unmarked grave, Jenny applies her methodical, diagnostic mind to the case, making it her mission to find out who this woman was, and who, or what, was responsible for her death. (Toronto International Film Festival)
Did you know? The film’s directors, the Dardenne brothers, initially wanted to cast Marion Cottilard in the role, but ended up casting her in the Oscar-nominated “Two Days, One Night” instead.
Summer 2017 Film Preview was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Kelsey Moore
Me with Jane Campion at Cannes
Cannes Film Festival celebrated its 70th anniversary this year. Just remember that only one female director — Jane Campion — has won a Palme d’Or. She took home the honor in 1993 for her brilliant “The Piano.” (She’s actually won two — her short film debut “Peel” won the Short Palme in 1986.) Campion was on hand for the anniversary festivities this week and in a picture that has gone around the world, she stands next to many a white male director as the festival celebrates itself.
Campion was here not for a movie, but to promote the second season of “Top of the Lake: China Girl.” It’s worth noting that Campion’s last two projects have been for TV. The fact that TV has been more welcoming to women creatives is not lost on anyone. Watching the first two episodes of this series was a high point of my week — way more interesting than many of the films I saw. “Top of the Lake: China Girl” employs some of our finest actresses at the top of their game. The cast is led by Elisabeth Moss (who I had the chance to meet and is even more awesome than I ever could have expected) who is having a career-best year with “The Handmaid’s Tale” as well as this tour de force. Moss said her inspiration for her “Top of the Lake” character, Robin, is Jodie Foster’s Clarice Starling in “Silence of the Lambs.”
Moss in “Top of the Lake: China Girl”
Moss is joined by the delightful Gwendoline Christie who said she wrote to Jane Campion saying how much she wanted to work with her. Campion fashioned the role of Miranda for her. In a roundtable, Christie revealed that she was told in drama school that she “would be told no a lot and that would have to do with my appearance.” Lucky for us she didn’t give up because she has created some seriously iconic female characters, most especially Brienne of Tarth in “Game of Thrones.” (Side note — Christie was also incredibly lovely, and everyone who I met is now in possession of our Cannes 2017 infographic and a Women and Hollywood pin.)
Alice Englert — Campion’s extraordinarily talented daughter — plays Mary in the new season of “Top of the Lake.” Nicole Kidman plays her adoptive mother. Kidman’s character is in the throes of her daughter’s rebellion that seems to be breaking her. The Oscar winner wears a grey wig in the role. Kidman also wrote to Campion asking for a tiny part in the show and of course she gave her a bigger one.
Kidman in “Top of the Lake: China Girl”
Kidman was in four projects here in Cannes and went on an awesome feminist tirade in the press conference for Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled” and declared that she will work with a female director every 18 months. She also said that she is acting more than ever as she turns 50.
Jane Campion is an enormous presence. She participated in the roundtable with her co-writer Gerard Lee and co-director Ariel Kleiman. She owned the room and as the creator of project, she infuses herself fully into it. She’s clearly deeply involved in all elements of the show even when she isn’t directing per say, and it’s this intensity that makes her need to get back to regular life in between projects, she explained. It’s not that she isn’t ambitious, but she doesn’t feel the need like so many other directors, particularly the men we see here in Cannes, to work non-stop. That is why it is so important to relish when we have something with her vision to experience.
The only thing that I take issue with is that in both seasons of “Top of the Lake” Campion brought in a younger male director to work with her. I would have liked to see her bring in younger female directors. (But she does put her name on the films of younger women directors to help them, so there’s that.)
Campion is outspoken about the lack of women directors and she did not shy away from the topic during the roundtable. She said that it’s clear that the “ratio is so low” and the “number of opportunities women get” is not enough. But she was optimistic. She felt that “change is in the air” and that we are experiencing a “feminization of story telling.”
I asked her if she had communicated with the other female directors who were participating in the 70th anniversary celebration because from what I could tell, the ones I noticed all wore pants. Her answer was “I have never felt comfortable in an evening gown. It’s a no-go zone for me.”
Campion in pants on Cannes’ red carpet: Reuters/YouTube
Lastly, she did mention, maybe in jest, that she had spoken with Andrea Arnold about creating a “wonder woman” film school for women directors. She and other successful female directors would come and mentor a group of women. That’s an idea that I hope comes to fruition.
- Melissa Silverstein
Toni Collette has nabbed the rights to Graeme Simsion’s novel and screenplay for “The Best of Adam Sharp,” Deadline reports. The romance marks Collette’s first project under her newly-launched production company with Jen Turner, Vocab Films.
Published earlier this year, “The Best of Adam Sharp” centers on an unhappily married man who’s nearing 50. Adam “can’t quite forget a romance he had 20 years ago with an intelligent and strong-willed woman named Angelina Brown who taught him what it meant to find — and then lose — love,” Deadline summarizes. “He wonders how different his life would be if he hadn’t let her go. Out of the blue, he gets a one word email from Angelina. He responds and his life takes a significant turn.”
Golden Globe and Emmy winner Collette would take on the role of Angelina. She previously served as a co-executive producer on “United States of Tara,” a Showtime series she also starred in about a woman with dissociative identity disorder. The show was created by “Juno” screenwriter Diablo Cody and ran from 2009–2011.
“I’ve recently realized that I really am a feminist,” Collette said in 2013. “For years people would say to me, ‘You are! You are! You really are!’ And I’d say, ‘No, I’m not. I’m a humanist. I think it’s sexist to say I’m a feminist.’ Now, I see a great imbalance not only in my industry, but also in the world at large. I want to change it,” she explained.
- Laura Berger
Elisabeth Moss is set to topline another TV adaptation of a novel. Deadline reports that the Golden Globe winner will star in and executive produce “Fever,” a limited series based on Mary Beth Keane’s book of the same name. Moss holds the rights to the novel. She’s teaming up with BBC America and Annapurna Television to develop the period drama.
Published in 2013, “Fever” follows “the first known healthy carrier of typhoid fever who became known as ‘Typhoid Mary’ as she spread typhoid across the burgeoning metropolis of early twentieth century New York,” the source summarizes.
“I’m so honored to be working with the incredible team of collaborators we have pulled together with Phil, Robin, BBC America, and Annapurna,” commented Moss. “I look forward to telling this story about one of the most infamous women in America, ‘Typhoid Mary,’ a woman whose true tale has never been told. She was an immigrant in turn of the century New York, a time of huge change and progress in America. She was incredibly unique, stubborn, ambitious, and in fierce denial of any wrongdoing until her death where she lived out her days imprisoned on an island just off of the Bronx in NY.” The “Mad Men” alumna added, “She is incredibly complicated, something I seem to enjoy playing.”
Moss currently stars in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s best-selling feminist dystopian novel of the same title. The critically acclaimed drama was renewed for a second season just one week after its premiere. She won a Golden Globe in 2014 for her portrayal of Detective Robin Griffin in Jane Campion’s murder mystery “Top of the Lake,” set to return for a sophomore season this fall.
Elisabeth Moss to Star in and Produce TV Adaptation of Mary Beth Keane’s “Fever” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
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