Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) potentially made history via an announcement that it had sent letters to federal and state agencies, asking them to investigate the lack of female directors in film and television as a violation of civil rights. Citing frightening statistics like a University of Southern California study that found only 1.9 percent of the top-grossing 100 films from 2013 and 2014 were directed by women, the news affected everyone from aspiring teen directors to film students to women like Ava DuVernay and Lexi Alexander, who are already making great strides in their profession.
Though of course, as MTV News learned firsthand at a press junket for "Spy" last week, it's not just female directors (or aspiring directors) who are applauding the ACLU's decision. Actress Rose Byrne, who plays the hilarious villain Rayna Boyanov in the film, wholeheartedly agreed that the lack of female directors -- which also extends to television -- is textbook discrimination.
"It has to be discrimination," Byrne said. "If women are half the population, over half, it's plain and simple discrimination. So why wouldn't it be investigated like any discrimination?"
Director Paul Feig, who has already made a name for himself as a pioneer for women in Hollywood based on female-driven movies like "Bridesmaids," "The Heat," and the upcoming sequel to "Ghostbusters," echoed Byrne's sentiments, adding that
"In general, Hollywood's having a very hard time catching up with the modern world," Feig explained. "I think it's a crime that there's not more women behind the camera directing. At my company we're just starting to produce movies and we're really trying to change that on our own... it just takes a long time for old prejudices to work their way through the system. There haven't been enough opportunities for women directors, and so then they say, 'well there's not enough.' Well yeah, there's not enough because you've got to start somewhere."
For what it's worth -- and it's worth a whole lot, trust me -- if Hollywood studios start to finally fund more projects for female directors, Melissa McCarthy is firmly on board.
"I would love to be directed by more women," McCarthy said. "I think there's so many points of view, that you want to make sure your stories are being told from men and women... you get all of the different backgrounds. You don't want every story being told from the same point of view. So just for better storytelling, I'm like, 'yes, please, bring some more ladies on.'"
"Spy" hits theaters on June 5.