Lady Problems is a weekly column that looks at how the entertainment industry — and its corresponding culture and constituents — is treating women in a given week. (Hint: It will almost always be “poorly.”) Every Friday, we’ll review the week’s most significant woman-centric conflicts, then provide a brilliant solution to each problem that nobody in Hollywood will ever listen to or enforce.
The Lady Problem: Elle interviewed very French person/writer/actor/director Julie Delpy this week about her new film, Lolo. Delpy — who, refreshingly, rarely gives one single fuck in interviews — was characteristically candid and impatient, specifically when it came to Elle's line of questioning about how well Hollywood represents women over 40. "Listen, I don't know because I don't see every film," she said, absentmindedly putting out her cigarette on the Mona Lisa’s forehead. "Some films do portray women in their 40s well, and some other films don't. Some films are written by women, so maybe there's a little more accuracy there. The truth is I don't see a lot of movies." Julie Delpy, her basket empty of fucks, does not have time for your "movies," Elle.
Near the end of the interview, Delpy was asked to weigh in on the current conversation regarding female directors, and casually dropped this bomb: "I've never had help from anyone, ever. I've never had this great director who saw themselves in me, because I'm a French woman in Hollywood ... And the few people who could have been mentors, instead they just stole my ideas." "What?" asked the interviewer, which is the only appropriate response to such a claim. "I tried to engage bigger writers and directors to help me out and all they did was fuck me over," explained Delpy. "Which I'm sure happens with men, too. I'm not saying it doesn't happen to male directors. And, when you transcribe this, please say I'm laughing while saying this, because I think it's very funny. But, you know, I think they realized I was never going to be able to make my World War II–Philippines movie because I'm a woman and no one would finance me. Maybe I would get the chance to be financed for a small romantic comedy, but a war movie by a 28-year-old woman about Japanese soldiers? No one was going to go for that. It's easy to just steal an idea because it's very safe."
The Solution: First of all, let's try to figure out what movie Delpy is referring to. Is she talking about 2005's The Great Raid, starring Benjamin Bratt and one James Franco? 2006's Letters From Iwo Jima? Corregidor, a 1943 film about the Japanese invasion of the Philippines? Is Julie Delpy a time-traveling immortal? I digress. It matters not what film Delpy speaks of; all that matters is that there are male directors out there, nonchalantly swinging their dicks around and poaching shit from women. I'm going to go ahead and assume that Michael Bay has stolen an idea from a woman or two in his lifetime, so let's punish Michael Bay for the sins of his brethren. Whatever Michael Bay is working on right now (Transformers 5, because there is no God), he will halt production and transfer all rights to Julie Delpy. She will light the Transformers 5 script on fire in front of him, which will summon Satan, who was promised a cut of Transformers 5's profits. Satan and Michael Bay will depart to the underworld to renegotiate their contract, while Delpy sprinkles the ashes on Megan Fox's lawn as Megan Fox watches. Both will laugh while she does this, because they think it's very funny. Delpy will then receive all of Bay's funding and use it to make a big-budget documentary about the scourge of men stealing women's intellectual property.
The Lady Problem: Much like Julie Delpy, Sally Field is a consummate No Bullshit Artist. In a new interview with Bustle, Field is asked the basic boilerplate questions about whether things are improving for women in Hollywood. When the interviewer suggests that things are on the up-and-up, Field "quickly cuts me off, and says that when it comes to things truly changing for female actors, 'I would be surprised if it does.'" "Talk is cheap, you know?" adds Field. "Yakety yakety yak … Pencils need to be put to paper, fingers need to be put to the computer ... It’s really all about OK, now what?" Field, who at 69 years old is single-handedly keeping the pencil industry alive, goes on to indicate that, as a universe, we have totally failed her and should be ashamed of ourselves: "There just aren’t a lot of leads for almost-70-year-olds. It’s not like, 'all of these leading roles that have been in film for older women, why didn’t you do any of them?' There haven’t been a whole lot of them. It’s very hard to find a good project ... every now and again, there’s a flurry of a couple films, be they for older women or even for younger women, that are interesting, character-driven pieces. But they’re few and far between."
The Solution: Yakety yakety yak, indeed. We as a planet have fucked up horribly by providing Sally Field with so few films that she had to be in The Amazing Spider-Man. I also can't remember the last time I used a pencil, which is a terrifying indication that we are fast approaching the singularity. We need to cancel the world. This is the only solution. Say good-bye to your loved ones.
The Lady Problem: Zoe Kravitz, a talented and lovely human woman, has somehow ended up trapped inside the unholy fourth dimension that is the Divergent franchise. In an interview with the AP to promote the latest entry in the series, Allegiant, Kravitz vented about the specific brand of fuckery she's had to put up with as a black woman in Hollywood; specifically, she's tired of being typecast and pigeonholed. "People have tried to do that to me over and over again and I’ve been fighting it and fighting it," said Kravitz. "I would get auditions and it would be like 'they want you to play the best friend.' And it’s like 'why can’t I audition for the lead?' Then it’ll be like 'OK now you’re the quirky black girl,' or 'now you’re a hippie.' I can play all kinds of people. I don’t have to play myself." Though she did share one positive story — her role in 2007's The Brave One was originally written for a "white Russian girl" — she put much of the impetus for changing the game on her fellow actors of color. "It's our responsibility to say 'I'm not going to take the same role over and over again.' I mean, of course actors gotta eat, but if it's something you believe in, we have the power to break the stereotypes by (a) writing our own things and (b) saying 'no' to the same thing over and over again ... This industry is not colorblind, but I think actors can be."
The Solution: Kravitz's idea is a good one, but I'm not ready to let White Male Hollywood off the hook by assuming it can't or won't change. WMH just needs a taste of its own chalky, bitter medicine. Parallel to their paradigm-shifting efforts, Kravitz and her collective will ambush and Freaky Friday all of Hollywood's white-dude studio heads, i.e., Harvey Weinstein and his similarly milky, hirsute peers. While inside the body of Harvey Weinstein, Kravitz will do a little naked dance around the Weinstein mansion to Dolly Parton's "Go Tell It on the Mountain," then get a hold of herself and green-light 367 films starring men and women of color. The 368th film she green-lights, titled Quirky Hippie White Russian Girl, will star Harvey Weinstein in the titular role. Kravitz, as Weinstein, will sign the contract in blood, consume an entire live octopus, then immediately exit Weinstein's body.
The Lady Problem: Yesterday, Canadian radio host Jian Ghomeshi was acquitted of multiple sexual-assault charges because of "inconsistencies" in the stories of the women who accused him. According to reports, the case "involved complaints from three different women regarding incidents in 2002 and 2003, Ghomeshi was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance to sexual assault by choking." His acquittal is a horrendous and tragic verdict in and of itself, but it's particularly nightmarish because it will likely discourage sexual-assault victims from coming forward in the future, compounding what's already a major issue. The verdict has sparked a mountain of outrage on social media; actress Zoe Kazan, who regularly engages in feminist and activist dialogue on Twitter, weighed in by sharing her own awful experience with Ghomeshi.
Here is a link to the entire tweet stream:
As Kazan aptly put it in a response to another Twitter user:
The Solution: This problem is obviously much bigger than Hollywood; the victims' stories, the rage-inducing verdict, and Kazan's own experience (which will likely be echoed by other famous women who have come into contact with Ghomeshi) are microcosms of the way the world at large looks at and listens to and treats women, especially those who have the gall to speak up when they've been assaulted. The only solution is, of course, to put Ghomeshi in prison for the rest of his natural life, then promptly forget about him, only speaking of him when people ask for examples as to why sexual-assault survivors often wait to come forward or fail to come forward at all. Then we will force the entire planet to attend a months-long workshop on the insidiousness of gender-based discrimination and violence, the dangers of blaming or not believing the victim of a sex crime, and the importance of asking for and receiving consent.