Although Hollywood has made strides over the years regarding the expansion of female characters in movies, we still have a long way to go before women find the proper representation that they need. Not just with regards to seeing their own gender on screen, but also seeing a variety of different facets of womanhood that goes behind labels like ‘mother’, daughter’, ‘sister’, and girlfriend. Oftentimes women will speak out about this need for inclusion in our own forms of media like movies and TV, but every now and again we’ll see male directors speak up on behalf of women and why we need to expand the realm of women characters in Hollywood.
On International Day of the Girl this past October 11, director James Gunn took time to discuss on his Facebook page his thoughts on why International Day of the Girl is relevant and what he’s been trying to do to contribute to women’s roles in Hollywood, more specifically regarding his upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2:
“Women all over the world have been pushed to the sidelines in the interests of men, and their person hood is often forgotten or delegitimized. This is true in the realms of politics and education and religion. But it is also true in the realm of STORIES. That is my personal area of expertise, and that is where I believe women – and girls – deserve the fullness of character that men have often received.”
via James Gunn’s Facebook
James Gunn has been one of the most vocal directors, along with Joss Whedon, on social media regarding diversity in Hollywood. We can see it in the work he’s done as he’s slowly figured out ways to expand upon his female characters and alter storylines in order to facilitate diversity or just something that isn’t so formulaic in his works:
“I have done my best, as a male writer, with varying degrees of success, to bring female characters and female stories to the forefront. Whether they’re protagonists like Ana in Dawn of the Dead or Starla in Slither, comedy relief like Deadly Girl, Nightbird, and Power Chick in The Specials, or the insane, scene-stealing roles usually reserved for men, like Libby in SUPER.”
He’s carried this approach with his upcoming Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. There were complaints about the treatment of Gamora in the first Guardians film, where some fans of the film thought that she had been relegated to just being “the girl” or as being pigeonholed into the love interest for Star Lord. This time around fans should be satisfied with Gamora and the other female characters that will be included in the next volume of Guardians of the Galaxy:
“And I can’t wait for you all to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with Gamora, Nebula, and Mantis in action, where we not only pass the Bechdel test, but run over it and back up over it again and again in an eighteen-wheeler truk, and where their stories and the men’s stories don’t come at the expense of each other, but are interwoven in a way to strengthen and optimize all of them.”
Being re-assured that the Bechdel test will be smacked over and over again by the changes James Gunn has made for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 film makes my little cynical heart beat happily. I am excited to know that more girls will be able to see women who are multifaceted and badass, giving them female role models to look up to that defy the stereotypical roles that society typically stamps on women characters in Hollywood.
Thank you, James Gunn. Thank you. If you want to read more of his Facebook post, please click here.
Zoe Saldana will be appearing as Gamora, joined by Karen Gillan who’s playing Nebula, with Pom Klementieff appearing as Mantis. They will be joined in the film by Chris Pratt as Star Lord, Dave Bautista as Drax, Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket, Michael Rooker as Yondu, Sean Gunn as Kraglin. They will all be joined by new cast members Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, and Kurt Russell.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 will premiere in theaters in the United States on May 5, 2017.