Colin Trevorrow and Chris Pratt Nerdist

Update: Colin Trevorrow wrote a response to this column, you can read it at the bottom of the second page of this post.

It’s an unassailable fact that there are far, far fewer women directing big-budget studio blockbusters right now than there are men. Where people seem to disagree is on whether that’s a problem (my vote is yes, but you knew that already), and if so, why the problem exists to begin with.

Recently, the director of one of those big-budget studio blockbusters — two, if you count his upcoming Star Wars film — ventured into the debate. Jurassic World and Episode IX‘s Colin Trevorrow sparked some debate by offering his thoughts on why there aren’t more women making nine-figure spectacles, and whether that might change. Read the Colin Trevorrow female filmmakers comments after the jump. 

What’s the controversy?

Trevorrow addressed Hollywood’s gender imbalance in response to a question from a fan (which in turn seems to be a follow-up to Trevorrow’s earlier comments in an LA Times article):

Among the people who took issue with his response were actress / filmmaker Jaime King, a self-confessed Star Wars nerd and the wife of another notable Star Wars nerd, Fanboys helmer Kyle Newman. Trevorrow consequently clarified his comments:

The fact that Trevorrow addresses the question at all — and that he readily recognizes the imbalance in his industry — is a promising start. But his response falls apart somewhat when he scrambles to explain why there are fewer female filmmakers behind big-budget blockbusters like Jurassic World and Star Wars Episode IX, and he doesn’t even try to suggest what might be done about it.

why Ava DuVernay turned down Black Panther

Trevorrow’s explanation (and why it doesn’t hold up)

According to Trevorrow, “Many of the top female directors in our industry are not interested in doing a piece of studio business for its own sake. These filmmakers have clear voices and stories to tell that don’t necessarily involve superheroes or spaceships or dinosaurs.” That’s certainly true of some female filmmakers, such as Selma‘s Ava DuVernay, who recently turned down Marvel’s Black Panther.

But Trevorrow wasn’t a top male director when he got the Jurassic World gig. He was an up-and-comer with one minor indie hit (Safety Not Guaranteed) on his resume. The equivalent of Trevorrow (or Cop CarUntitled Spider-Man Reboot director Jon Watts, or (500) Days of SummerThe Amazing Spider-Man director Marc Webb) isn’t someone like Ava DuVernay, whose last film was nominated for Best Picture, or Kathryn Bigelow, who’s already got a Best Director Oscar on her mantel.

Trevorrow’s female counterparts — the women who are currently at the point in their careers that he was when he nabbed Jurassic World — are directors like Marielle Heller (Diary of a Teenage Girl), Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), and Maya Forbes (Infinitely Polar Bear). Last we heard, none of them were getting offered $200 million spectacles. Is it theoretically possible that the studios have approached some of these women, only to be shot down? Sure. But the fact that their names never crop up in the rumors or shortlists that circulate before any big announcement is telling.

The idea that female filmmakers are choosing not to make blockbusters due to their “very high levels of artistic and creative integrity” is a pleasant idea, but we don’t have much reason to believe they’re being offered these projects in the first place. It may also be the case that even once female directors are courted or hired, they’re treated differently from their male colleagues — though Trevorrow doesn’t address that notion, since it’s somewhat outside the scope of the original question.

Continue Reading ‘Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow Addresses Gender Imbalance in Blockbuster Directing >>

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