Recently, Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World and upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX), responded to a fan’s question about whether or not he felt that he would have gotten the Jurassic World directing gig if he were a woman.
Great question! But Trevorrow’s, in my opinion, wildly ignorant reply sparked a lot of controversy. So let’s discuss…
First off all, it’s a pretty well-known fact that fewer women are directing big-budget blockbusters than men.
But is that really a problem or not?!
Now, my reaction would be that, HELL YEAH IT’S A PROBLEM! For example, if there was a woman, who would kill it as the director of a future Star Wars installment (*cough* Kathryn Bigelow *cough*) but was not offered the position solely based on her gender, would that be a problem?! Yes. Duh.
So, anyway, that’s the debate. Now that you’re caught up, here is what Trevorrow had to say on the issue via the question below:
The first problem here is that Trevorrow never actually answered the question which was unfortunate. Does he think that he would have gotten the role as director of Jurassic World if he were a woman or not?! We don’t know because he didn’t say!
He did, however, pretty much imply that if he were a woman, he probably wouldn’t have wanted to do Jurassic World in the first place because women, according to Trevorrow, don’t like “dinosaurs.” Lame Town. That comment is, hands down, what got him in the most trouble.
“Many of the top female directors in our industry are not interested in doing a piece of studio business for its own sake,” Trevorrow said. “These filmmakers have clear voices and stories to tell that don’t necessarily involve superheroes or spaceships or dinosaurs.”
Jaime King, actress, director, and self-proclaimed Star Wars nerd, sent a great reply to Trevorrow on her Twitter:
Of course women want to direct films about those things! To say that women are not given the same opportunities as men because they don’t share their same interests, is ridiculous and dismissive of the very real issue of Gender Discrimination.
I mean, he’s working with Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy for crying out loud. She’s a total Star Wars badass!
Now, Trevorrow did completely acknowledge that there is a gender imbalance in the industry which was very cool. And I liked what he said about being seen as a part of the problem:
“[I]t does make me feel terrible to be held up as a symptom of social injustice,” he wrote. “Nobody wants to be part of the problem.”
And, in his reply to Slashfilm’s article below, he seems to be really fighting gender discrimination and advocating for more women in the industry by hiring numerous female department heads and producers which is AMAZING! I definitely can see that his heart is in the right place.
But, his comment about women not having a point of view or wanting to direct films about “superheroes or spaceships, or dinosaurs” was just plain ignorant. The top female directors currently working in the film industry are just as diverse and capable as their male counterparts. They have unique visions on a wide-range of subjects and, make no mistake, many of them would no doubt love to take a crack at a superhero, spaceship, or dinosaur film.
The following is a response from Colin Trevorrow to Slashfilm about their article regarding his Twitter comments:
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.