FEATURE: Perfect Exposure: The Women Adding Their Incredible Voices to T.V. and Film Evolution



Perfect Exposure


IN THIS PHOTO: Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Stephanie Beatriz/PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Scanlon for Glamour  

The Women Adding Their Incredible Voices to T.V. and Film Evolution


THIS is unique for me for a number of reasons.


 IN THIS IMAGE: (clockwise from top left): Kimberly Peirce, Lisa Cholodenko; Mimi Leder and Catherine Hardwicke/IMAGE CREDIT: The Guardian/COMPOSITE: Reuters/Alamy/Rex/Getty Images

My blog is, as you’d hope, dedicated to talk about music but, as it is called Music Musings and Such, I think that last word allows me some flexibility. As tomorrow is International Women’s Day, I wanted to add to the conversation regarding women in the media. Specifically, I am compelled by film and T.V. and how, in 2019, some of the finest work is being made by women. It should come as no shock: we have always seen fantastic and innovative women produce sublime work but, now more than ever, I think their voice is key. I think there are big movements and shifts happening in T.V., even if there is not the same gender-recognition for women as there is for the men. The film world has a long way to go until there is actual parity. Consider the new film, Captain Marvel, and the fact it stars Brie Larson as the heroine. The film industry has promoted and idolised sirens, screen queens and legends for decades – the days of Marilyn Monroe and Jean Harlow owning cinema and winning hearts seems an awful long time ago. There is still a lot of debate regarding equal pay and the fact that, in most cases, there is this big divide. Many were excited regarding Larson’s appearance and how it marks a rarity: a woman leading a superhero film.


Some reviews have been glowing but, as the BBC outlines in this article, not everyone has been so receptive:

"The picture is not dull, exactly, just mundane," writes Todd McCarthy from The Hollywood Reporter.

In a review headed with the words "It's no Black Panther", he accuses Captain Marvel of "unimaginative plotting, cut-rate villains [and] a bland visual style."

Screen Daily's Tim Grierson expresses similar reservations, calling the film "fun and breezy but also a tad familiar" and its action sequences "sturdy but unspectacular".

Directed by indie film-making duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Captain Marvel is the 21st instalment in the series of Marvel blockbusters that began with 2008's Iron Man.

Only one of its predecessors, last year's Ant-Man and the Wasp, has had a female superhero as a title character.

The Telegraph's Robbie Collin is not alone in remarking that 2017's Wonder Woman - made by rival company DC Entertainment - "beat it to the punch" in having a female superhero as its main protagonist.

Yet Empire's Helen O'Hara - one of the few female critics to review the film - still regards it as an "essential... feminist fable" that "delivers in a more satisfying way than almost any other superhero film of recent years".

There is a lot of love for Larson’s central performance and the nuances she brings to the role. Maybe this is this perception that, regardless how a female hero is framed, they are not as bold and complex as male characters.

 IN THIS PHOTO: The Favourite co-stars Emma Stone (left) and Olivia Colman (right) at the Palm Springs Film Festival/PHOTO CREDIT: Shutterstock

Perhaps there is still this adaption and a need to push the female superhero away from the merely perfunctory and into a fully-rounded and inspiring figure. I think films like Wonder Woman, Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel are vital at a time when gender roles and equality and being spoken about more vociferously and passionately than ever before. I think actors like Brie Larson are leading a charge and helping evolve cinema. It seems like, in many ways, the notion of a woman as a heroic and bold lead has taken a step back. I mentioned a few screen icons: back at a golden time when, in a way, these female role models were the superheroes of their day. I love the fact the once-male-dominated genre/area of cinema is seeing positive change and, when directors and writers can craft a truly compelling and unique script that makes the female lead stand out then I think we will see a revolution. Actors like Larson are showing that woman can be seen as these superhero figures and so not have to be restricted. I think, in the next or two, we will see more franchises and films developing the role of woman-as-a-superhero and there will be these incredible role models for girls and young women. All throughout cinema, there are fantastic women turning out these eye-opening and truly spellbinding performances – look at recent Oscar-winning Olivia Colman in The Favourite and you can see what I mean! I will follow this thought with a look at why female writers and directors are, to me, standing out in T.V. – I wanted to look at female directors in film.

There are countless affirmative, complex and truly stunning performances from women in film but, as I said, the discussion regarding pay equality is no closer to resolution. There are brilliant female directors right now that, at the major award ceremonies, are not being recognised. This article, from January, reacted to the Oscar nominations and how many women were missed out:

 “Taking an unfortunate cue from the Golden Globes, this morning’s Oscar nominations arrived with nary a nomination for a female filmmaker in the Best Director category or a nod for a female-directed film in the Best Picture category. While few female directors managed to break through the noise of Oscars buzz in the run-up to the nomination announcement, a number of female filmmakers have already earned major awards buzz this season, including Debra Granik, Tamara Jenkins, and Lynne Ramsay, who all earned Best Director nods from the Indie Spirit Awards, which takes place the day before the Academy Awards.

On the screenplay side, only two female writers were nominated, including filmmaker Nicole Holofcener for her work on “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (alongside Jeff Whitty) and Deborah Davis for “The Favourite” (shared with Tony McNamara).

At least the short film categories provide a glimpse into a possible future for female filmmakers: Rayka Zehtabchi was nominated for her documentary “Period. End of Sentence.,” Marianne Farley earned a live-action nomination for “Marguerite,” while Alison Snowden got a nod for her co-directed animated short “Animal Behaviour,” as did Domee Shi for “Bao” and Louise Bagnall for her “Late Afternoon.”

Only one woman has ever won Best Director at the Oscars: Kathryn Bigelow, for 2009’s “The Hurt Locker,” which also won Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. After Bigelow’s big win, no female directors were even nominated in the category until last year, when Greta Gerwig was nominated for her feature directorial debut “Lady Bird.” She ultimately lost out to Guillermo del Toro for his Best Picture winner “The Shape of Water”

Maybe there have been steps regarding racial recognition – there were more black winners at this year’s Oscars than previous years – but the inspiring female directors who warrant acclaim are, largely being overlooked. It is good there is some change and, at the very least, short films with female directors are being recognised. There are articles like this and this that are directing us to superb female filmmakers but there is still a long way to go. This fascinating piece from The Guardian spotlighted this female cinema prison – being shut out and ostracised in favour of male directors. Mimi Leder – who directed On the Basis of Sex – has faced this:

On the Basis of Sex has been referred to as Ginsburg’s “superhero origin story”. With Leder, however, things were not so straightforward. This is her first movie for nearly 20 years. Like a great many female directors, she found herself prematurely and unfairly shut out of an overwhelmingly male-dominated Hollywood. But, like a great many female directors, she is now returning.

IN THIS PHOTO: Mimi Leder (photo date unknown) is regarded as one of the finest female directors ever/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images 

For women, though, movie jail can be a life sentence. You could fill a whole prison wing with similar cases to Leder’s, women whose careers got off to a bright start, only to somehow falter. But the prison breakout seems to be gaining momentum. Another escapee is on the loose right now: Karyn Kusama, who has returned with Destroyer, starring Nicole Kidman as a ravaged, world-weary, antisocial detective. Destroyer is a superior Los Angeles thriller in the hard-boiled, neo-noir tradition, but Kidman’s character is no gender-swapped male gumshoe: she carries the guilt of being a terrible mother, for one thing. And when was the last time Philip Marlowe had to give someone a hand job in exchange for information?


According to the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, of the top 1,100 Hollywood films from 2007 to 2017, a mere 53 were directed by women. That’s a lamentable 4%. And almost all of these women only made one movie (the exact figure is 84%, compared with 55% of men)”.

The good news is that a lot of these once-ignored female directors are stepping back behind the camera and are leading a fresh wave – if only Hollywood and voting academies get up to speed and play their part! Big actors like Nicole Kidman have vowed to work with more female directors and raise their profile. Not that this needs be done because, as any film fan will tell you, a lot of female directors are being shut out. There is cause for celebration as a lot of female directors are producing great work and it can only be a matter of time before their talent is recognised. We know that the gender pay gap is pretty scandalous but, again, strong women speaking out and the fact we have seen some truly magnificent screen performances recently means the conversation must happen – there needs to be parity and progression regarding pay and why men are still raking in more. Even box office lure aside, the divide is still too vast. The film industry is a huge one and it may take a while before all the brilliant female directors, producers and stars find equal footing regarding awards, pay and recognition.

The sheer amount of talent out there is the reason for me writing this piece – and I want to urge Hollywood to rethink the way it prioritise men and how, in 2019, we still have a lot to learn. One of the main reasons for posting this piece, actually, is to look at T.V. and how women and female-written shows are way ahead of the competition. The fact I have made Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Stephanie Beatriz the ‘cover star’ is the fact that, a) it is my favourite comedy right now and, b) she has directed her first episode, He Said, She Said, on the show. Beatriz is someone who has spoken out regarding L.G.B.T.Q.A.+ awareness and sexual inequality. I think T.V. is still an industry that is male-heavy in terms of directors and producers but the likes of Beatriz are helping promote dialogue and show that women have a vital role. She spoke with Glamour about directed her first episode and some of the nerves she experienced. Beatriz takes up the story:

Over the course of working on our sitcom, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate and work with many directors. The vast majority of them were men, and that’s simply because there are far more men than women in the Directors Guild of America. There are even fewer members of the DGA who are women of color. I started having a very strong feeling that I had a point of view that could add something to the work that was happening on television, that my voice and sensibilities and sensitivities and brain could add something to a show and help tell a story...


PHOTO CREDIT: Nate Taylor for Teen Vogue

But thinking and doing are two different things, and I wondered if I was being ridiculous. What the actual fuck was I thinking?! I’ve never directed a short film, let alone a whole episode of network comedy. I didn’t go to film school. What credentials did I have?

I was informed that my episode would center on Jake and Amy working on a case involving #MeToo and sexual assault. So while I felt a lot of pressure to get it right, I also felt so much trust. It gave me confidence because I knew I could prepare in a way that would lead to a smooth, even joyful, set. I could use this opportunity to give space to actors to create and play, which is what we do best. As I read the script, images began bursting into my mind and there was a fire inside me to tell the story that Lang Fisher and our writing staff had so beautifully and hilariously written. I felt full of ideas. I felt compelled to tell this story as honestly as I could. Mostly, I felt a very strange yet solid trust that the director who could do this was already inside me”.

Beatriz was hesitant directing and, having seen that all the episode’s for the current season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine had directors attached, she felt the chance had gone – after writing an email (a very precise and detailed one) to the showrunner, she was given a shot.

The nature of the episode was one that she felt carried big weight and had to be handled with care, balance and discipline:

I was informed that my episode would center on Jake and Amy working on a case involving #MeToo and sexual assault. So while I felt a lot of pressure to get it right, I also felt so much trust. It gave me confidence because I knew I could prepare in a way that would lead to a smooth, even joyful, set. I could use this opportunity to give space to actors to create and play, which is what we do best. As I read the script, images began bursting into my mind and there was a fire inside me to tell the story that Lang Fisher and our writing staff had so beautifully and hilariously written. I felt full of ideas. I felt compelled to tell this story as honestly as I could. Mostly, I felt a very strange yet solid trust that the director who could do this was already inside me”.

Beatriz is not the first women from a sitcom cast to direct an episode and, in fact, there are some sensational women directed in T.V. right now. Beatriz will not only inspire many female directors who want to get into T.V. but also show that a subject as weighty and important as #MeToo can be deftly and brilliantly handled and discussed in a mainstream comedy…


When reviewing the episode, AV Club had some very positive words about the first-time director and how Beatriz helmed the episode, He Said, She Said:

“...In this case, Stephanie Beatriz doesn’t do anything too special with this episode. But her work is certainly commendable during that Amy/Jake break room scene, where she knows that all you need is close-ups on both Melissa Fumero and Andy Samberg and to let them do their jobs. It’s not a scene that’s necessarily your go-to when it comes to “directing” and “comedy,” but that’s what the Holt manhunt scene is for. (As seen in the image for this review, the office questioning scene also has some gems in terms of direction.)

It’s also a little thing in terms of the big picture, but this is the rare Holt plot with Terry and/or Boyle that doesn’t rely on him insulting them for laughs. Sure, those insults land with Terry, but the Boyle slams have always felt like punching down on Holt’s part. That doesn’t occur in this episode, and in fact, both Terry and Boyle get to have fun at Holt’s “old man reciting the glory days” expense. It’s not that I want every member of the Nine-Nine to be nice to each other—my personal favorite sitcoms of all time understand the art of a good pile-on—but there’s truly a time and a place when it comes to the eternally optimistic Brooklyn Nine-Nine. “He Said, She Said” manages to find the perfect balance for this dynamic, which is the best way to describe Lang Fisher’s script for the entire episode”.

IN THIS PHOTO: Caitlin Moran is a hugely successful novelist, journalist (for The Times and Sunday Times) and screenwriter/PHOTO CREDIT: Gareth Iwan Jones

The three finest things on T.V./streaming services right now are comedies/comedy dramas. All of them have one thing in common: they are written by/directed by women. I think women bring something to comedy that adds in dramatic elements but can provide these unique and incredibly sharp moments. We have brilliant comedic writers in the U.K. such as Caitlin Moran. He sitcom, Raised by Wolves, was written with her sister, Caroline Moran. In 2013, Caitlin Moran explained what inspired the series set on a Wolverhampton council estate - Moran novel, How to Build a Girl, will soon be on our cinema screen very soon. It is one of the most human, remarkable and addictive comedies that has been on British T.V. in years. Gone are the days of iconic female writers like Caroline Aherne and Victoria Wood adding their stamp to T.V. When Raised by Wolves came along, I noted something you would not get from male writers; an angle and voice that was unique and transformative. I digress a little but the fact the Moran sisters created this wonderful work of T.V. proved that, in terms of firepower and creativity, women are as strong (if not stronger than their male peers). The pay gap regarding women in T.V. might not be as sharp as in film but there is a disparity. I know for a fact there a lot of brilliant female directors coming through and, in years to come, I hope there is genuine equality in terms of pay and award nods.

Fleabag and Derry Girls are back on our screens and both have picked up huge reviews. The former was created by star Phoebe Waller-Bridge and she also wrote the recent success, Killing Eve – surely one of our best creative minds! Even the world of T.V. comedy is not immune to male dominance and the assumption (wrongly) that women cannot write as articulately and keenly as their male counterparts. Fleabag is already a success but, as you can see from the glowing reviews, there is no shortage of brilliance and laugh-out-loud moments! The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan reviewed the new series’ opening episode:

Everything is here in this densely packed 30-minute nugget. Laughs that come from the deepest part of you, where your better judgment flails and fails. Waller-Bridge’s fleetness as she pivots to camera and back, capturing her tiny moment each time, so we see her in the round and cannot help but follow her wherever in her awfulness she leads. The vivid portraits of human frailty, weakness and – in Martin’s case – near-evil (his toxicity here was so potent it was almost visible; if the priest had performed an exorcism instead of ordered pudding it would not have gone amiss) drawn with just a handful of lines each from an unflinching, excoriating, lethally funny writer whose performers knock every one out of the park”.

Waller-Bridge is a breath of fresh air in T.V. and it is her naturalness and honesty that leads to these moments we can all relate to. I think Fleabag is such a success because she can write in a very personal way but everyone, male or female, can understand her struggle and life.

This passionate piece from The Independent last month spoke with Waller-Bridge and perfectly described why she is changing perceptions regarding female writers/creators – and why she is so far ahead of many other writers:

In her career, as in her plots, she is working to defy expectations. She sneaks out of all of the boxes that people want to trap her in: the comedy writer, the sex writer, the feminist writer. When Fleabag came out, critics were fixated on how sexually explicit it was, which is ironic because the sexual bravado is the character’s disguise, her way of preventing anyone from really seeing her.

As soon as the entertainment industry sinks its teeth into a smart young woman, it seems to want to extract her perspective and blast it into every possible market segment: the memoir slash manifesto, the newsletter, the body-positive Instagram account. After Fleabag, Waller-Bridge got loads of those kinds of offers. Instead of asking, “What do you want to do next, as an artist?” they wanted to know: “Could you spin that into a book?”

It’s not enough for a woman to write a beloved television show, or three. “It’s part of the job now,” she says, “to be a brilliantly articulate spokesperson for feminism.” But she’s already poured her best insights into Fleabag, and she doesn’t see the point of cranking open the hood on her art and exposing all of its parts”.


IN THIS PHOTO: Phoebe Waller-Bridge/PHOTO CREDIT: Dylan Coulter 

The final two female-helmed shows I want to nod to – and celebrate the female voice –is the U.K.’s Derry Girls and the American series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The former is back on our screens and its first episode (of the new series) was on a couple of days ago. Its creator, Lisa McGee, makes the series pop with life and standout moments. It is set during The Troubles in Northern Ireland in the 1990s and such a tense and fractious period might be difficult when it comes to comedic moments and relief. McGee beautifully mixes a sense of serious with naivety and wicked humour. It is, I think, the joint-best (alongside Fleabag) comedy we have at the moment and stronger than This Time with Alan Partridge (a comedy that relies more on awkwardness and uncomfortable tension that natural and easy comedy). Derry Girls holds so much love from critics. The Daily Telegraph reviewed the second series’ first outing:

The often surreal specificities of the divide between the Northern Ireland communities yields the steadiest parade of chuckles. Asked by the hipster Padre to list all the things Catholics and Protestants have in common, the teenagers instead reel off everything that separates them (Protestants are tidier, Catholics like Abba etc).

However, any potential po-facedness regarding the region’s history of internecine strife is offset by Derry-raised McGee’s quick-fire script and by the charmingly squirming performances from Jackson and the rest of the cast. The essence of adolescence is suspecting that the entire world is about to laugh at you – a sense Jackson, in particular, conveys perfectly”.


Whilst I feel the sensational women leading the best of British comedy are worthy of serious adore, I prefer American comedy in general. They rely less on clichés – when it comes to domestic situations and a rather old-school style of jokes – and can be a lot sharper and more risk-taking. I feel comedies like Derry Girls and Fleabag work so well is because, like America’s best, they take risks and can catch you off with something unexpected and shocking – more progressive and bold than the majority of comedies out there. Aside from Brooklyn Nine-Nine I am also obsessed with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino and first went out on 17th March, 2017 on Amazon video. It stars Rachel Brosnahan as the eponymous Mrs. Miriam ‘Midge’ Maisel; a housewives in New York during the 1950s who finds she has a talent for comedy but, coming from a Jewish family and living at a time when there were very few female comics, she keeps her gift a secret – as her marriage falls apart and she navigates a series of tough gigs in N.Y. (no spoilers, I hope!). The first season received mostly positive reviews but it was the second series (a third is in production) that really won the biggest reactions and applause. There are multiple reasons why the show not only exceeds British tradition but has garnered such passionate love.


 IN THIS PHOTO: Amy Sherman-Palladino/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

We, here, are much more beholden of family-based comedy that is set in modern times and relies on embarrassment, high-jinx and normality – the best of American go deeper and can stretch the imagination. The colour palette on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is wonderful: a rich array of 1950s shades and vivacious tones; a scent-filled bouquet that, in terms of visuals, is arresting and peerless. Along with her husband, Daniel, Amy Sherman-Palladino has crafted this incredible serious that can bring drama and tears – marriage breakdown and an ambitious young woman receiving knockbacks – but has this razor-sharp and beautifully varied script. From rapid-fire characters like Susie Meyerson (the manager of the nightclub. The Gaslight Cafe, played by the powerhouse that is Alex Borstein) to Midge’s dad – wonderfully played by Tony Shalhoub. Amy Sherman-Palladino gives a unique voice to each character and, given the fact the spectrum of personalities ranges from caustic-yet-loveable to stubborn-and-academic, she manages to make everything mesh and flow. As a director, too, she can craft these wonderful scenes and angles; far stronger and more imaginatively than most male directors. Her guidance, words and directions bring the best from a wonderful ensemble cast – the series has won awards and the second season left us with cliffhangers many of us are keen to see resolved. Critics have responded positively in the U.S. and many here have gotten behind the series.

 IN THIS IMAGE: A promotional shot that advertised the arrival of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s current season (two) - a new series is in development/PHOTO CREDIT: Amazon

In this review from The Guardian, a lot of interesting observations are raised:

“...But Sherman-Palladino and her husband/collaborator Daniel Palladino (given the show’s theme of men always being half a step behind, it’s apt that the episodes credited to him aren’t quite as strong) know how to prolong a fantasy. The new run paddles happily round in slowly expanding circles via sojourns to Paris and the Catskills, each of which is a crisp retro paradise. That allows more time to get to know those supporting players of whom we never tire: Alex Borstein scores a laugh a line as Midge’s coarse, scrappy manager, Susie, whose mixture of disdain and awe at her client’s social status hides fierce admiration and perhaps a dash of longing. “Look at you,” she says during one of their lunchtime sparring sessions. “It’s like a dollop of whipped cream grew a head.”

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel brims with dialogue where every syllable is dead on the comic beat, and scenes choreographed like Broadway musicals: a swarm of uniformed porters unpacking vacation cases from a car, for instance, or the girls on a department-store switchboard rattling through a thousand calls a minute. It’s a rich source of Jewish-Manhattan wisecracking neurosis, too, particularly in the hands of Tony Shalhoub as Midge’s fussy-professor father, Abe, who this year gains a vibrant inner life to go with his bottomless repository of hilarious exclamations (“Now I’m second-guessing these slacks!”).

 IN THIS PHOTO: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s lead, Rachel Brosnahan/PHOTO CREDIT: Erik Madigan for Vanity Fair

I will end things very soon – you’ll be pleased to hear! – but The Marvellous Mrs. Masisel’s lead, Rachel Brosnahan spoke about the series to Rachel Aroesti about her upbringing – Aroesti perfectly summed up the appeal and importance of the Amazon series:

It was a childhood shaped by her parents’ tough-love approach to their daughter’s acting ambitions. “They were extremely supportive and encouraging, but by saying: ‘We’re not going to help you with that.’ Like if I wanted to take a class, my dad would say: ‘OK, well, you should get babysitting so you can pay for that class, and you should take classes because you need to get better at this.’”


It might not be a box-ticking assemblage of progressive values, but what makes The Marvelous Mrs Maisel feel straightforwardly refreshing and progressive is that it portrays a multi-dimensional, contradictory and self-steering female character. It is worth remembering just how rare this remains: Brosnahan admits to being desperate to win the part after becoming frustrated by the one-dimensional characters she is asked to audition for. “I feel like I’ve read the same part in 1,200 scripts – someone’s girlfriend who is pretty but doesn’t know it. There’s not one thing that makes a woman strong or vulnerable or any kind of word you could use to describe her. It’s complicated and we should show that”.

I have only touched the tip of the iceberg regarding great female directors and creators and, to be fair, I have not even covered female actors and the incredible cinema moments they are giving the world…

It is International Women’s Day tomorrow and I have already spoken about music and how musicians, D.J.s and every woman in the industry warrants praise and equality – and how, slowly, that is starting to happen. I have just scratched the surface regarding the brilliant women in T.V. and film but, tomorrow, we need to recognise the brilliant work they do and how, in 2019, we are not at the point of true equality. It is galling to see: from wage Discrepancy to award snubs, I feel like more men need to join the debate and get involved. The work and evidence is out there for change and dialogue; we just need to make sure progression occurs quicker and, this time next year, we are not in a situation where we have to talk about pay and why big ceremonies like the Oscars are ignoring women. I do not think it is mere meritocracy and the fact that, to some people, men are producing better work and we should not pander. I shall end it here but, like music, there are so many wonderful women creating such fine work.

I did not even mention by favourite female director at the moment – Olivia Wilde. Having adored her acting career for so long, she is one of the strongest female director around. Here, in this Variety piece she was tipped as director to watch and spoke about her process and progress:

In the 15 years Olivia Wilde has spent in front of cameras, she’s been studying how the other half lives. She’s been doing that on her own time, too, shadowing directors and cinematographers on sets, and trying her hand at directing a short film and two music videos. But it wasn’t until she ran across the screenplay for “Booksmart” that she knew she’d found the moment to tackle her first feature...


Wilde packs the film with some bold stylistic flourishes and fantasy sequences — “I wanted the audience to experience the inside of a teenage girl’s mind,” she says, “which is an incredibly intense place to be” — and elicits some unusually three-dimensional performances out of both her primary and supporting actors, no doubt helped by her insistence that the entire cast perform with no scripts or sides on set or in rehearsal (“that’s something I ripped off from Scorsese, because it forces you to do the homework and allows for a much more efficient set”)”.

International Women’s Day is about women in all walks of life and in all sectors: from the brave and wonderful nurses and members of our NHS to charity workers in America; to film actors, directors and T.V. writers. Not only is tomorrow about looking at equality and opening discussions but merely celebrating the great work that women do around the world – on other days, many might be overlooked and dismissed. I wanted to break from music to write about the gender-equality situation in Hollywood and T.V. and, importantly, mention the brilliant writers, directors and actors who are helping progression happen and creating some of the finest work around. You can argue that the best comedies, films and dramas are being written by men but, as I have shown with a few examples, that assumption is faulty – and we need to show more respect to female talent. Let’s hope that, as discussion continues and campaigning goes on, women in all areas of the film and T.V. industries...


 IN THIS PHOTO: Actor and director Olivia Wilde/PHOTO CREDIT: Isak Tiner for The New York Times

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