The best thing about last year's surprise knockout "Creed" wasn't that mind-blowing, climatic one-take fight scene (although, that was pretty cool) or the remarkable chemistry between Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone, it was the careful way in which director Ryan Coogler characterized Tessa Thompson's character Bianca.
As Adonis Creed's love interest, Bianca could have been nothing more than his ringside cheerleader -- but she wasn't. In fact, she was so much more. She was ambitious, smart, talented and most importantly, held her own. Coogler's desire to make Bianca more than just a throwaway character in the story defines who he is as a director. For Coogler, diversity and representation, on-screen and behind the camera, isn't just important, it's imperative for storytelling.
In a recent interview with Variety, Coogler, who hired female cinematographers for both of his feature films, opened up about how important it is for Hollywood, and filmmaking as an art form, to get more women and female voices behind the cameras.
"I feel like women are better filmmakers than men," he said. "They’re equipped to do this job, in many ways, better than us. They're infinitely more complex. They're stronger and sharper. We're going to get better movies [if we have more female filmmakers]. But they’ve got to be given the opportunity."
Despite all the debate around the lack of opportunities for women in Hollywood, the film industry continues to be dominated by men, which makes Coogler's statement all the more powerful. There's definitely a lot of work to be done in Hollywood, but this is a positive step in the right direction.
Hollywood, take note.