Posted on Monday, January 10th, 2011 by Russ Fischer
The LA Times has a great piece up that looks at a number of recent and upcoming films that offer tough, practical heroines that stand in stark contrast to a lot of the female characters that media offers up to young women. One of the highlighted films is Winter’s Bone. Mentioning the latter, the paper drops an interesting tidbit: director Debra Granik is working on a new treatment for Pippi Longstocking with her producing partner Anne Rosellini.
The article calls the character ‘the original tomboy,’ and while the name might evoke for some the image of a character whose time has passed, just refresh on a description of Pippi to see how easily she might be the focus of a film with some broad appeal:
Nine-year-old Pippi is unconventional, assertive, and has superhuman strength, being able to lift her horse one-handed without difficulty. She frequently mocks and dupes adults she encounters, an attitude likely to appeal to young readers; however, Pippi usually reserves her worst behavior for the most pompous and condescending of adults. She turns white around the nose whenever she gets angry, though this rarely happens. Pippi’s anger is reserved for the most extreme cases, such as when a man ill-treats his horse.
Taken in context with the following quote, I can easily see a more family-oriented tale like Pippi Longstocking coming from the woman that presented the uncompromising and bleak Winter’s Bone.
As a kid, I got really envious of men’s coming of age in movies. Their knowledge of darkness would grow, their compassion would grow, whatever it was, it felt like they would gain something, and the female coming of age often was punitive, like an unwanted pregnancy. We’re all like, ‘Oh God, I’m so glad I’m not her.’
But it’s not all as dark as that. “People are finding these heroines charismatic, unexpected and fresh,” Granik says. “What a person in the business can get from that is, ‘Hey, a young female protagonist doesn’t need to have a boyfriend, get pregnant, cut herself or be naked to attract an audience.’ “