Colin Trevorrow's Home Base

How Trevorrow is coming at this from the wrong angle

Trevorrow’s heart seems to be in the right place. He insists there’s “a sincere desire to correct this imbalance at the highest levels of our industry right now.” It’s hard not to feel for him when he admits the original question bums him out. “[I]t does make me feel terrible to be held up as a symptom of social injustice,” he writes. “Nobody wants to be part of the problem.” And it’s worth pointing out he’s already working with one very powerful female filmmaker — Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy, who’s the one that hired Trevorrow (and all those other guys) for Star Wars in the first place.

But Trevorrow is looking at the question wrong. The problem isn’t that Trevorrow didn’t deserve the chance to make Jurassic World. He obviously did, and he worked his ass off to make sure that was the case. It’s that similarly talented, hard-working people who are similarly deserving of similar jobs aren’t being considered those jobs. It’s not a criticism of Trevorrow to say he would have been at a disadvantage for the Jurassic World gig if he were female. It’s a criticism of the systems and biases that would have put Trevorrow at a disadvantage if he happened to be female.

Jurassic World

What’s next?

Trevorrow doesn’t really offer any constructive ideas about how to fix the gender imbalance, which is understandable. If it were a simple problem with a solution so obvious it could be explained on Twitter, someone else would have solved it by now. But as a white male filmmaker (Hollywood’s favorite kind, statistically speaking), Trevorrow in a position to help bring about change. He could use advocate for female colleagues, hire female crew members, or mentor female up-and-comers. He could look past people who remind him of himself, as Brad Bird movingly said of Trevorrow, to bring in people who offer a completely different perspective on the industry.

Maybe he already does all those things when we’re not looking; I don’t know his life. However, what is clear is that publicly, he’s denying the real issue. Which, again, is not that the Ava DuVernays of the world are declining the Black Panthers, but rather that the Marielle Hellers aren’t being offered the Star Wars: Episode Whatevers. And it’s pretty hard to help solve a problem until you can first acknowledge it exists.

D23 coverage

Response From Colin Trevorrow

Last night filmmaker Colin Trevorrow e-mailed the following response to this article to /Film editor Peter Sciretta. We present it without further comment:

The last thing I’d want to communicate is that I don’t acknowledge this problem exists. I think the problem is glaring and obvious. And while it does make me a little uncomfortable to be held up as an example of everything that’s wrong, this is an important dialogue to have, so let’s have it.

Would I have been chosen to direct Jurassic World if I was a female filmmaker who had made one small film? I have no idea. I’d like to think that choice was based on the kind of story I told and the way I chose to tell it. But of course it’s not that simple. There are centuries-old biases at work at every level, within all of us. And yes, it makes me feel shitty to be perceived as part of this problem, because it’s an issue that matters so much to me. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t talk about it in the first place.

I do stand by the idea that a great many people in the film industry want this to change. I have made attempts at every turn to help turn the tide, and I will continue to do it. When I got the script for Lucky Them, released last year, I advocated hard for my friend Megan Griffiths to direct. She did, and she made a wonderful film (see it please). On my next project, Book of Henry, nearly all of my department heads and producers are women. Will I give a female filmmaker the same chance Steven Spielberg gave me someday? Let’s hope that when I do, it won’t even be noteworthy. It will be the status quo.

I came home from New York tonight and saw my daughter again after a week away. This had come up earlier in the day, so it was on my mind. I did think a lot about how vital it is for me to empower her now, even at age 3. To encourage her to go out and grab whatever it is she wants in life, to lead. It starts with the constant, steady assurance that the top job is attainable.

Becoming a filmmaker is not easy. It’s years of rejection and disappointment and it’s very hard, often grueling work. The job takes insane levels of endurance and sometimes delusional amounts of self-confidence. All I can do is raise one girl with that kind of fearlessness, then let her choose her path. That’s my contribution. The rest is up to her.

(Should I mention we need more female chefs? Different article.)

Pages: Previous page 1 2

Cool Posts From Around the Web: