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Quote of the Day: Reese Witherspoon on Reliving Ugly Truths in the Wake of Weinstein Allegations
2 hours ago
Witherspoon in “Big Little Lies”
Reese Witherspoon is opening up about her own history of abuse in Hollywood. “[I feel] true disgust at the director who assaulted me when I was 16 years old and anger at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment,” the Oscar winner said during her speech at Elle’s Women in Hollywood event yesterday, per The Hollywood Reporter. “And I wish I could tell you that was an isolated incident in my career, but sadly it wasn’t. I’ve had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault and I don’t speak about them very often,” she revealed.
Clearly impacted by the many allegations about Harvey Weinstein and her Hollywood peers’ decision to come forward with their own stories, the “Big Little Lies” producer and star decided to go public with hers. “This has been a really hard week for women in Hollywood, for women all over the world and a lot of situations and a lot of industries that are forced to remember and relive a lot of ugly truths,” she observed. “I have my own experiences that have come back to me very vividly and I find it really hard to sleep, hard to think, hard to communicate a lot of the feelings that I’ve been having about anxiety, about being honest, the guilt for not speaking up earlier, for not taking action.”
Witherspoon continued, “After hearing all the stories these past few days and hearing these brave women speak up tonight about things that we’re kind of told to sweep under the rug and not to talk about, it’s made me want to speak up and speak up loudly because actually I felt less alone this week than I have felt in my entire career. I have just spoken to so many actresses and writers, particularly women, who have had similar experiences and many of them have bravely gone public with their stories. That truth is very encouraging to me and to everyone out there in the world because you can only heal by telling the truth.”
As painful as it was to revisit these experiences, Witherspoon seemed hopeful that doing so publicly would help bring much-needed attention to an issue that’s all too common. “I feel really, really encouraged that there will be a new normal,” she said. “For the young women in this room, life is going to be different because we have your back and it makes me feel better because, gosh, it’s about time. … I’m so sad that I have to talk about these issues, but I would be remiss not to.”
Witherspoon made her big screen debut with 1991’s “A Man on the Moon.” She won an Academy Award in 2006 for playing June Carter in “Walk the Line.” Her other credits include “Wild,” “Legally Blonde,” and “Election.” She can currently be seen in Hallie Meyers-Shyer’s “Home Again,” a romantic comedy about a recently separated woman who unexpectedly gets roommates.
Quote of the Day: Reese Witherspoon on Reliving Ugly Truths in the Wake of Weinstein Allegations was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
NBC Developing “Nancy Drew” Reboot Series
3 hours ago
If you were disappointed by CBS’ decision not to proceed with a “Nancy Drew” series, you’re in luck. NBC is now working on a reboot based on the beloved novel series, Variety reports.
Hailing from writers and exec producers Joan Rater (“Doubt,” “Grey’s Anatomy”) and Tony Phelan (“Madam Secretary”), the new project is still being produced by CBS Television Studios, and Dan Jinks, who developed the CBS version, remains on board.
Whereas CBS’ take on the story would have centered on 30-something Nancy as she solved crimes as a NYPD detective, NBC’s version “follows the author of the most famous female teen detective book series who is thrust into a real-life murder mystery,” the source writes. “In need of help, she turns to her two best friends from childhood, who were the inspiration for all those books, and the women who have a real axe to grind about the way their supposed best friend chose to portray them all those years ago.”
Nancy Drew made her debut in print in 1930, and while the character was created by Edward Stratemeyer, the first “Nancy Drew” book was written by newspaper woman Mildred Wirt Benson, who penned a number of other novels in the series. Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, Stratemeyer’s daughter, later took the reins as the main author of the series.
The most famous incarnation of the girl sleuth is “The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries,” which aired for three seasons on ABC in the late ’70s. “Scream Queens” alumna Emma Roberts played the tenacious teen detective in the 2007 film “Nancy Drew.”
NBC Developing “Nancy Drew” Reboot Series was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Kathleen Kennedy Calls for Zero Tolerance Policy in Response to Weinstein Abuse Allegations
4 hours ago
Lucasfilm prez and producer Kathleen Kennedy delivered the keynote speech at Elle’s Women in Hollywood Event last night and used her platform to acknowledge — and condemn — the elephant in the room. “A demand is growing for action to prevent further civil and human rights abuses in the future,” she observed, per The Hollywood Reporter. Kennedy added that “increased awareness of the belittlement, objectification, and predation long-endured by women who work in film will certainly be one result of the exposure of what Harvey Weinstein did.”
In addition to voicing her support for the women who have come forward and shared their stories about Weinstein, Kennedy stressed that “predators must come to feel they can’t count on power or wealth or fame to shield them.”
The “Star Wars” producer outlined several tactics Hollywood should adopt to combat its culture of abuse. She recommended “zero tolerance policies for abusive behavior, and a secure, reliable, unimpeachable system in which victims of abuse can report what’s happened to them with a confident expectation that action will be taken, without placing their employment, reputations, and careers at risk.”
Kennedy also suggested that individuals from all professional walks of life come together to create a commission “charged with the task of developing new, industry-wide protections against sexual harassment and abuse.” Her vision would see feminist activists, labor and management representatives, law experts, activists, sociologists, psychologists, and film and TV execs join forces to overhaul Hollywood’s current system of addressing misogyny — which usually involves turning a blind eye.
“The commission should be fully funded by our industry in order to address the task at hand in a thoroughgoing, comprehensive fashion,” Kennedy continued. “The goal of this commission would be to transform our industry in regards to sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace.”
In her own speech, Women in Hollywood honoree Jennifer Lawrence endorsed Kennedy’s idea. “If we build this commission, this community of support where anyone can come to us and ask questions, I will give my all to it,” the Oscar winner stated.
Kennedy has received eight Academy Award nominations throughout her career, and has produced over 90 projects, including “Persepolis,” “Jurassic Park,” “Back to the Future,” and “Schindler’s List.” One of Kennedy’s upcoming credits is the much-anticipated follow-up to 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “The Last Jedi.” The Daisy Ridley-led sequel hits theaters December 15.
You can read Kennedy’s entire Women in Hollywood speech over at THR.
Kathleen Kennedy Calls for Zero Tolerance Policy in Response to Weinstein Abuse Allegations was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
Julia Brownell-Penned Family Vineyard Drama Gets Put Pilot Commitment from ABC
5 hours ago
Julia Brownell is switching gears from cults to grapes. “The Path” co-executive producer has scored a put pilot commitment from ABC for family drama “Eight Hundred Grapes,” Deadline reports. She’ll exec produce and pen the script.
An adaptation of Laura Dave’s 2015 novel “Eight Hundred Grapes: a Perfect Summer Escape to a Sun-drenched Vineyard,” the potential series centers on Georgia Ford, “who learned some important secrets growing up on her family’s Sonoma vineyard,” the source writes. “The secret number of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine: eight hundred. The secret ingredient in her mother’s lasagna: chocolate. But just a month before her wedding, 30-year-old Georgia discovers her fiancé has been keeping a secret so explosive that it will change their lives forever. Georgia does what she’s always done: She returns to the family vineyard, expecting the comfort of her long-married parents and her brothers and everything familiar. But it turns out her fiancé is not the only one who’s been keeping secrets.”
Brownell most recently worked on Hulu’s “The Path,” a drama about a fictional religion — or cult, depending on who you ask — known as Meyerism and its followers. The show’s second season concluded in April, and Hulu has confirmed it will be returning for a third. Her other credits include “Parenthood,” “Smash,” and “Hung.”
Julia Brownell-Penned Family Vineyard Drama Gets Put Pilot Commitment from ABC was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Liv Tyler Joins Second Season of “Harlots”
23 hours ago
Liv Tyler is swapping the all-white attire of the Guilty Remnant for the vivid corsets and powdered wigs of Greek Street. According to Deadline, the “Leftovers” actress has joined the next season of “Harlots” as a series regular. Tyler will reportedly portray the aristocrat Lady Isabella Fitzwilliam.
“Long-held secrets keep [Tyler’s character] in the thrall of Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville), and she is an increasingly desperate victim of Lydia’s blackmail,” the source summarizes. “Trapped in a loveless marriage, Lady Fitz will find an unexpected friend and ally in courtesan Charlotte Wells (Jessica Brown Findlay).”
Created, written, directed, and exec produced by an all-women team, “Harlots” follows the rivalry between two madams in 18th century London, Margaret Wells (Samantha Morton) and Lydia Quigley, as well as the lives of the women they employ. The May finale of the Hulu/ITV drama’s first season saw Margaret’s daughter Charlotte, the most revered harlot in the city, defect to Lydia’s brothel.
Coky Giedroyc (“The Sound of Music Live”) and China Moo-Young (“Call the Midwife”) helmed three installments each of “Harlots’” inaugural eight-episode season, and Jill Robertson (“Last Tango in Halifax”) directed two. Per Deadline, Giedroyc will serve as lead director on Season 2, which is expected to debut sometime in 2018.
Tyler starred as Meg Abbott, a grieving daughter turned cult leader, on the HBO dystopian series “The Leftovers.” The show ended after three seasons in June. You can catch Tyler next in “Wildling,” a fantasy drama currently in post-production. She’s also filming “Gunpowder,” a BBC miniseries about Guy Fawkes and his followers.
- Rachel Montpelier
Meet the NYC and La First-Time Female Filmmaker Contest Winners
16 October 2017 12:01 PM, PDT
Contest winner Jaime Leigh Gianopoulos: Gianopoulos’ Instagram account
Women and Hollywood has selected the New York and Los Angeles winners and runners up of its First-Time Female Filmmaker Contest, an initiative to help build a pipeline of women directors.
The NYC winner is Vanessa Coscia’s “Ile O Curta,” a narrative portrait of a transsexual child. The runner up is Brittany Fennell’s “Q.U.E.E.N.” which follows a young woman who uses rap to express herself. Both films will screen at Women and Hollywood’s New York anniversary event on October 17.
Jaime Leigh Gianopoulos’ “O Florescer Da Voz” is the Los Angeles winner. The short doc is about a female slave brought to Brazil from Africa. The La runner up is Angela Jude’s “Prudence,” which centers on a former WWII nurse suffering from dementia. “O Florescer Da Voz” and “Prudence” will screen at our La event on October 25.
The London winner and runner up will be announced at a later date.
Tickets are still available for the Los Angeles celebration. If you would like to attend the London celebration on November 27, email Melissa Silverstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to the selectees! You can check out their films’ official descriptions below.
Winner — NY
“Ile O Curta”
Directed by Vanessa Coscia
A transsexual child, with all the support of their parents, will face their grandmother’s and society’s prejudice to show their desire to be accepted for who they are.
Runner Up — NY
Directed by Brittany Fennell
“Q.U.E.E.N.” tells the story of a teenage girl with a troubled past who uses writing as her muse to say all the things she is too afraid to say. Through self-discovery and a little bit of courage, Imani faces her biggest fear at a rap battle.
Winner — La
“O Florescer Da Voz”
Directed by Jaime Leigh Gianopoulos
“O Florescer Da Voz” is a short documentary uncovering the story of Anastasia. A slave brought to Brazil from Africa. Exploring two modern day women becoming powerful references for the next generation of women. Using the voice as a tool for social transformation, and women’s empowerment.
Runner Up — La
Directed by Angela Jude
“Prudence” is about a dishonorably discharged World War II nurse, stricken by grief and crippling dementia. Who seeks out her beloved to dance with one last time.
Meet the NYC and La First-Time Female Filmmaker Contest Winners was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Women and Hollywood
Women and Hollywood Would Like to Thank Its 10th Anniversary Sponsors
16 October 2017 11:01 AM, PDT
Women and Hollywood’s 10th anniversary is finally here! Tomorrow night we’ll be celebrating at a sold-out event in New York City. We’ll also be gathering for events in Los Angeles on October 25 and London on November 27. A lot of outside help went into making these events a reality, and we’d like to take a moment and recognize our generous 10th anniversary sponsors.
To all our sponsors: Thank you so much for supporting our anniversary and our mission of educating, advocating, and agitating for gender equality in the global film industry. We could not have pulled off our anniversary celebrations without you.
Find Women and Hollywood’s 10th anniversary sponsors below. We’d also like to thank our new sponsor, Frank PR, as well!
Women and Hollywood Would Like to Thank Its 10th Anniversary Sponsors was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Women and Hollywood
Netflix Snags Spec About “Wizard of Oz” and “Alice in Wonderland” Heroines
16 October 2017 10:01 AM, PDT
Two iconic, beloved characters are teaming up for a whole new epic adventure. Netflix has snagged the rights to “Dorothy & Alice,” a spec script inspired by the protagonists of “The Wizard of Oz” and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” Deadline reports. The sought-after project inspired a “hotly competitive bidding situation with a number of producers who were after it for its franchise potential,” and the streamer came out victorious.
It’s not clear whether Dorothy and Alice’s high-stakes journey will take them to Oz, Wonderland, or some other magical land. The logline reads, “Haunted by nightmares of Oz’s impending destruction, Dorothy Gale finds herself in a home for others like her with troubling, vivid dreams. While she is there, she meets a mysterious girl, Alice — who involves her in a perilous quest to not only save the worlds of imagination — those which we come to realize are real and not just dreams — but the world as we know it.”
The actresses most closely associated with Dorothy and Alice are Judy Garland and Mia Wasikowska, respectively. Garland played Dorothy in the 1939 musical “The Wizard of Oz,” and Wasikowska took on the role of Alice in 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland” and last year’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass.” Casting hasn’t been announced for “Dorothy & Alice.”
Netflix Snags Spec About “Wizard of Oz” and “Alice in Wonderland” Heroines was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Quote of the Day: Sarah Polley on How Directing Made Her More Aware of Hollywood’s Sexism
16 October 2017 9:01 AM, PDT
Actress, writer, and director Sarah Polley is sharing her story about Harvey Weinstein. The producer propositioned Polley, the “Stories We Tell” helmer writes in an opinion piece for the New York Times. Weinstein suggested that a “very close relationship” with him would mean more acting work for her. “I indicated that he was wasting his time,” Polley recalls. “I just didn’t care that much about an acting career. I loved acting, still do, but I knew, after 14 years of working professionally, that it wasn’t worth it to me, and the reasons were not unconnected to the tone of that meeting.”
As she hints, that encounter with Weinstein was not the first time Polley came up against Hollywood’s misogyny. But she didn’t realize how much show business normalizes predatory behavior until she started directing her own projects.
“Shortly afterward, I started writing and directing short films. I had no idea, until then, how little respect I had been shown as an actor. Now there were no assistant directors trying to cajole me into sitting on their laps, no groups of men standing around to assess how I looked in a particular piece of clothing,” Polley details. “I could decide what I felt was important to say, how to film a woman, without her sexuality being a central focus without context.”
After having a positive, collaborative experience with Julie Christie on the set of her directorial debut, “Away From Her,” Polley decided to return to acting. But while she was more confident in her abilities and voice, Hollywood’s treatment of women was the same as ever. “This industry doesn’t tend to attract the most gentle and principled among us,” Polley says of the alpha male directors and producers she’s worked with. “I had two experiences in the same year in which I went into a film as an actor with an open heart and was humiliated, violated, dismissed and then, in one instance, called overly sensitive when I complained.”
“For a long time, I felt that it wasn’t worth it to me to open my heart and make myself so vulnerable in an industry that makes its disdain for women evident everywhere I turn,” Polley emphasizes. Her ambivalence about the craft is understandable: female actors endure an unbelievable amount of shitty treatment and face a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation when they consider speaking out.
Hopefully, as Polley mentions in her piece, the Weinstein case will mark a turning point. “I hope that the ways in which women are degraded, both obvious and subtle, begin to seem like a thing of the past,” she writes. Amen.
Polley received an Oscar nomination in 2008 for writing “Away From Her,” which stars Christie as a woman living with Alzheimer’s. Polley’s other directorial credits include the infidelity drama “Take This Waltz” and “Stories We Tell,” a documentary about her own family and parentage. She also penned the upcoming Netflix miniseries “Alias Grace,” an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel.
Quote of the Day: Sarah Polley on How Directing Made Her More Aware of Hollywood’s Sexism was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
Helen Mirren to Receive the Chaplin Award
16 October 2017 8:01 AM, PDT
Mirren in “The Hundred-Foot Journey”
Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy, Olivier, and Tony Award-winner Helen Mirren is set to add yet another trophy to her well-used mantle. The “Eye in the Sky” star will receive The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Chaplin Award, a press release has announced. The gala, set to be held April 30, 2018 at the Lincoln Center, will feature movie and interview clips with Mirren, whose career spans over 50 years.
According to the release, the event “will be attended by a host of notable presenters,” so it seems likely that some of Mirren’s co-stars and directors will be reflecting on her incredible body of work and her famous sense of humor.
“It is an honor and a pleasure for us to present Helen Mirren with our 45th Chaplin Award,” said Ann Tenenbaum, the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Board Chairman. “From housemaid to Queen and everything in between, Ms. Mirren has delivered masterful performances of complex characters, upending stereotype after stereotype along the way.”
Earlier this year Mirren gave the commencement address at Tulane University. The “Woman in Gold” actress has been outspoken about gender inequality in Hollywood, but as she revealed at the event, she initially shied away from identifying as a feminist. “[I] believed in the obvious: that women were as capable and as energetic and as inspiring as men, but to join a movement called feminism just seemed too didactic, too political for me,” she explained. But she eventually had a change of heart. “I have come to understand that feminism is not an abstract idea but it’s a necessity if we — and really by ‘we,’ I mean you guys — are to move us forward and not backward into ignorance and fearful jealousy,” she told the attendees. “So now, I am a declared feminist and I would encourage you to be the same.”
Mirren will next be seen in “The Leisure Seeker,” a road trip comedy that follows a couple’s journey in their Rv. The film hits theaters January 19, 2018.
Helen Mirren to Receive the Chaplin Award was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Just Getting By: November’s VOD and Web Series Picks
16 October 2017 7:01 AM, PDT
Breakups, losses, growing older, career setbacks — we all have times when we just have to put our heads down and soldier on. This month, our female-led VOD and web series picks showcase a range of determined women from varying backgrounds who’ve all hit a bump in the road and are just trying to figure out what comes next.
In our VOD selection, “Paint It Black,” co-writer-director Amber Tamblyn introduces us to a pair of women brought together by a death. As they grieve for the same person, Josie and Meredith are simultaneously drawn to and repelled by each other in a painful, resentment-filled relationship.
Cazzie David and Elisa Kalani’s web series, “Eighty-Sixed,” is a millennial breakup story. Remi is determined to “win” the breakup with her boyfriend by carefully cultivating a false image of herself online. Back for a second season, Scarlet Sheppard’s “Karmic” explores the origins of its main characters’ friendships. The viewer learns how the characters’ experiences with mental illness, Lgbtq identity, and difficult childhoods cemented their bond.
In Lisa Ebersole’s “37 Problems,” Amanda, a 37-year-old screenwriter, is tasked with freezing her eggs before she can get funding to finish her web series project. In the process, she learns that she only has one more shot at being a mother, and has to think about whether that’s what she wants.
Finally, the “Meme Queens” of Jessica A. Caesar’s web series are a pair of late-20s former beauty queens who aren’t adjusting to the anonymity of normal life. So, they sign up to participate in a web-based reality series in which all of their goofy, narcissistic behavior is turned into memes, which rockets them to internet fame.
Here are our VOD and web series selections for November.
In actress Amber Tamblyn’s directorial debut, a young woman named Josie (Alia Shawkat) copes with the death of her boyfriend, Michael, and in the process becomes closer than she could have imagined with his mother, Meredith (Janet McTeer), a mentally unstable pianist who blames Josie for the loss of her son. They become dependent on each other in their grief, both pushing each other away and clinging together as they search for meaning and understanding after Michael’s death.
Rent or buy “Paint It Black” on Amazon, iTunes, and other streaming platforms.
In this hilarious web series, we meet Remi (co-creator Cazzie David), who’s recently been dumped by her boyfriend and is determined to “win” the breakup with the help of her friends. She’s a little neurotic and a little more narcissistic, and as she tries to come out on top, her dependence on social media keeps dragging her back down. It’s a dry, super funny look at millennial romance — and how it can all fall apart.
Watch “Eighty-Sixed” on YouTube or the series’s website.
The second season of “Karmic” promises to bring as many laughs and memorable moments as the first when we rejoin Margot and Josie (Melanie Price and Jessica Sabatini), two best friends with some major differences, who are hosting a wacky, homeless yoga instructor named Sage (creator Scarlet Sheppard) on their couch. In this season, we learn more about what brought these girls together — specifically the mental illness, Lgbtq identity, and childhood trauma that solidified their friendship.
Catch both seasons of “Karmic” on YouTube.
“37 Problems” — Created, Written, and Directed by Lisa Ebersole
This new web series follows the journey of Amanda (creator Lisa Ebersole), a 37-year-old screenwriter who’s single, childless, and struggling to finish her web series. Her mother agrees to finance her project on one condition: Amanda needs to freeze her eggs. When she finds out from her very attractive fertility specialist that she she only has one viable egg left, Amanda starts to evaluate what she wants in her life — if she ever wants to be married, have a chance at being a mother, or whether she wants to put everything she has into her career.
Watch the trailer for “37 Problems” on Vimeo or the series’s website. On October 17 the series will debut on Amazon Video and Seed & Spark.
“Meme Queens” tells the story of two former beauty queens (creator Jessica A. Caesar and Gilli Messer), now in their late 20s, who are dissatisfied with normal adulthood. They’re broke, washed-up, and they’ll do pretty much anything for a bit of fame. Soon enough they find themselves wrapped up in an internet reality show, in which their wildest antics and silliest stunts are turned into memes for all the web to see — and well on their way to internet stardom.
Just Getting By: November’s VOD and Web Series Picks was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Kaidia Pickels