Actress Evan Rachel Wood has a project idea. In Hollywood, this isn’t unusual. Actors often have ideas they pitch, usually with themselves involved in a creative way. Sometimes they’re accepted, sometimes they aren’t. Hollywood execs, it seems, aren’t interested in just accepting a pitch because a fairly well-known actor is behind it.
Kind of smart when you think about it.
But Wood has her pitch, and she’s upset that it hasn’t been accepted. Looking at her vent about it on Twitter, though, I kind of see the problem.
Fyi I have been pitching a film, starring 4 amazing actresses, written by 2 women, to be directed by me, for TWO YEARS, to nothing but room after room of white MEN and ‘weirdly’
no one has given it money. And we wonder why there is a bias in hollywood?? Your move guys.
— #EvanRachelWould (@evanrachelwood) July 1, 2018
So, the selling point for this is four actresses and two female writers working on a film directed by Wood.
Nothing about the story, nothing about the genre, even. The gender of the people involved seems to be the only selling point to her audience on Twitter and, presumably, these white MEN in the room.
Oh, and let’s not forget that while Wood may be a skilled actress, she has absolutely no experience as a director. At least, she has none based on her IMDB listing. I’ll get to why that matters in a moment.
Let’s take a look at the problem here, step by step.
First, there’s the argument that it will star four amazing actresses.
That’s while it’s in the planning stages. Once dates are set and things solidify, that can change. All four of those actresses might have scheduling conflicts and have to pull out of the project. Just because they’re attached right now doesn’t mean they’ll end up in the final project. That makes their attachment nice, but not something an exec would necessarily want to bank on.
Not only that, but she says they’re “amazing” actresses. She doesn’t say anything about popularity, name recognition, or anything of the sort. While most will assume “amazing” also implies a certain degree of notoriety, that’s not necessarily true. Because we don’t know who they are, we don’t have enough information to evaluate what kind of impact they may have had. These four actresses may even have a dozen Tony and Emmy awards between them, but it doesn’t mean they’re a big screen draw.
Next, the two female writers.
As a writer, I’m going to tell you all something that kind of hurts. No one cares about the writers.
Oh, when it comes to novels and even non-fiction works, they do, but in movies? Not really. Don’t believe me? List your top five favorite movies. Then, without looking anywhere, tell me who wrote them. If you can, you’re the exception, not the rule. Writers aren’t a draw in general, so why should their gender be a draw?
Wood directing should make a difference, though, right? Right?
Nope. As noted above, she’s not shown any experience directing. Now, that’s not unusual. No one has an IMDB credit as a director until they direct something, so I get it. You have to start somewhere.
However, Wood is probably looking at people like Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, and even Ben Affleck as actors who successfully made the transition to working on both sides of the camera. She figures that if they can do it, why can’t she?
It’s a fair question.
Let’s look at where each of these actors was in their careers. Eastwood and Gibson were both well-established stars with a lot of power behind their names. Studios were willing to gamble with their directorial inexperience because they figured the name would be more than enough to make up for any problems.
Even Affleck was a well-known film star, and if he didn’t necessarily have the acting gravitas of Eastwood and Gibson at that point in their careers, he had an Oscar for writing. That likely indicated that he had enough understanding of storytelling that he wouldn’t be a complete disaster as a director. He’s also produced several movies, and while many of those didn’t do particularly well financially, he at least had proof that he knew what went on behind the camera.
Wood, however, has none of that. There’s no documented experience. While she’s certainly well-known, she lacks the star power of Gibson or Eastwood in their prime. She’s an actress best known for television, and while she’s garnered some respect for her roles, she’s not enough of a draw to override a lack of experience.
But she also left out what kind of story we’re talking about, and that matters too.
It’s one thing if she’s being turned down for a comedy that would cost the studio only a few million. It’s quite another if we’re talking about a sweeping epic set against the background of World War I. Making movies is expensive, and if you actually look at what goes on in the studio offices, you’d find that it’s amazing any movie makes it to the big screen.
What Wood is complaining about isn’t that she’s not getting a shot. It’s that she’s not getting the green light simply because of who she is. She’s already getting a shot. She’s getting a better shot than 99 percent of all aspiring directors just by being in that room, and only a privileged actress or idiotic feminist would fail to see that.
Then again, when she follows up that earlier tweet with something like this…
One guy I was pitching it to actually said, “well you’re a 30 year old mom, what gets you out of the house to see a movie?”
AS IF ALL WOMEN ARE JUST AT HOME FEEDING BABIES AND HAVE NO LIVES.
— #EvanRachelWould (@evanrachelwood) July 2, 2018
…I can’t help but wonder how big that chip on her shoulder actually is. Maybe that has something to do with getting shot down too?
**For the record, everyone has to “get out of the house to see a movie.” For moms, since so many are single moms these days, it takes special motivation because it can be logistically difficult to see a film.