Because of catfight. In an interview, film stars Charlize Theron and Emily Blunt dispel the myth that Hollywood actresses would like to scratch their eyes out. Otherwise, the South African and the British rely on feminist woman power. Even with the upbringing of the sons.
Hamburg – At first glance, “The Huntsman & the Ice Queen” is just a typical Hollywood film, the continuation of a fantasy spectacle that nobody has actually been waiting for. But at second glance you can see something unusual: in addition to Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain are three prominent actresses in the leading roles. Reason enough to meet two of them for an interview at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Hamburg and to talk about the status of women in Hollywood. A subject on which the British Blunt (“The Devil Wears Prada”), who is just expecting her second child, and the South African Theron (Oscar-winning for “Monster”), mother of two adopted children, have a lot to say.
Miss Blunt, Miss Theron, your new film “The Huntsman & the Ice Queen” has a total of three female and one male protagonists. A very unusual relationship for Hollywood, isn’t it?
Blunt: Without a doubt. That was what made this project so incredibly special. When I was offered the role, I already knew that Charlize was on board and heard that Jessica Chastain was interested. These two colleagues were actually reason enough for me to accept. Because three major female roles – and strong, idiosyncratic ones at that – are the absolute exception. I have seldom enjoyed a shoot so much.
But does it have noticeable effects on the actual work when there are more women in the ensemble?
Theron: Yeah, it actually makes a difference. If only because we were all so happy about it. As an actress you are used to being the only woman among men, at least in front of the camera. If that is suddenly different, it is immediately noticeable. The mood and the energy were different. Not better or worse, but different. Not to mention that the other two women, Emily and Jessica, were absolutely exceptional actresses. Of course, you look forward to work twice in the morning.
So it is not as it is always said after all? That it makes no difference as an actor whether you are dealing with a female or a male filmmaker?
Theron: Wait a minute, you can’t mix two things together. As far as telling a story goes, it actually makes no difference. Anyone who argues in this way also claims that female directors can only direct women’s stories. These are exactly the boxes that keep women in the film business small.
Blunt: There are enough counterexamples. Think of “The Hurt Locker” by Kathryn Bigelow. A film can hardly be more masculine.
Theron: Still, it’s nice to meet another woman on the set. Or even several. Chances are I wouldn’t say that if it were the rule. But I still notice it every time. Not that I constantly think about the gender of my teammates while playing. However, I always notice that I miss my colleagues. It’s a shame that most of us know each other from award ceremonies rather than working together.
At the beginning of your career, did you sometimes find it difficult for movie sets to be dominated by men?
Blunt: I wouldn’t sign that like that. Especially at the beginning I just enjoyed working at all, so I didn’t worry about the circumstances. You only notice such imbalances when you get a little older and more successful, if only because you have the luxury of choosing from various projects and looking closely at who is involved in a film and why.
The lack of gender equality in Hollywood has been a huge topic in the media over the past few months. Do you sometimes feel that the media take things more seriously than they actually are in your day-to-day business?
Blunt: Phew, difficult question.
Theron: If that were the case, then maybe we should pay more attention to the topic in our day-to-day business, right? After all, it cannot be denied that there is an imbalance between men and women in this industry. It is always said that art holds up a mirror to society. But in my opinion, the reflection that the film world is currently showing is far from accurate.
Blunt: You are absolutely right!
Nevertheless, for every combative Jennifer Lawrence who denounces unequal pay, there is also a colleague like Amy Adams who openly admits: I knew I was getting less than my male co-star – and took the job anyway. . .
Blunt: I come from England, so it is considered embarrassing to talk about money. . .
Theron: Same in South Africa!
Blunt: So I wouldn’t have approached the matter as openly as Jennifer. But Charlize just got to the heart of the problem, and this problem is so serious that we just have to talk about it. Whether it is proper or not. Still, of course, I have an inkling of what Amy meant. I’m also sure that in many films I got less than my male colleagues. But I haven’t turned off such jobs, because I just love my job and want to do it.
Theron: The problem is not us either and whether we get a few million more or less. It’s about those actresses who struggle to survive to feed their families. They can’t turn down a job because of lower pay, after all, they have to see that the food comes to the table. They can’t fight for equal pay, so we have to do it for them.
You get really angry. . .
Theron: Damn it, I am too. Because it’s just not fair when men and women don’t get the same money for the same job. I never really thought of myself as a feminist before because the word made me think of bra-burning man haters rather than equality. But I grew up in South Africa under apartheid and saw with my own eyes what it means when one person is worth less than the other in society. Just because of their skin color or their gender. I saw it and just don’t want it to continue anywhere and anytime. That’s why equal pay is only one aspect that is at stake here. More importantly, on the whole, women are still worth less than men. Not just in terms of money.
Is Hollywood the right place for solidarity?
Blunt: Why not? I have had so many wonderful experiences with female colleagues that I don’t see why we shouldn’t show solidarity. The media, of course, love the myth that we all hate each other and would love to scratch our eyes out. But that’s just stupid and sexist. In general, the portrayal of us women is often a problem. If you are ambitious, it always sounds negative and desperate in reports.
Theron: While with a man it is always positive, desirable and especially masculine.
Blunt: Exactly. Ambition in men is admirable, in women embarrassing and misguided.
Theron: Oh man, all these clichés. Also that we are all always jealous of one another.
Blunt: That’s the thing: in fact, women have far fewer roles available to us, which is why the competition is greater. But I still don’t remember a single really negative experience with a colleague.
Theron: On the contrary, at events like the Golden Globes, I am always happy to feel how even actresses who don’t know each other are happy for the successes of others and how one congratulates and supports one another. I’ve also received lovely cards from colleagues whom I seem to have inspired with my work. Where the press only ever smells cat wars, there is actually a large community in which we stick together.
In the course of your careers, have there also been female colleagues who have specifically given you a helping hand or who have given you support?
Blunt: I’ll never forget a gesture by the great Judi Dench, whom I met right away on my very first job.
Theron: When was that?
Blunt: I was 18 years old right after school. I got a role in a play in which Judi was also there, which of course gave me weak knees. Before the rehearsals even started, we all met for a photo shoot. I couldn’t get a word out, but Judi hugged me and said: “Hello darling! If anyone here is stressing you out, you come straight to me. “
Theron: Oh how wonderful.
Blunt: Yes, she had realized exactly how overwhelmed I was and that she would give me security with it. I couldn’t have done better than starting my professional life with someone like you as a role model right under my nose.
You are now both mothers and have daughters of your own. Do you feel a special responsibility to give the girls special tools because they will have a harder time as women in our society?
Theron: You know what? Actually, I feel a special responsibility almost even more in my son! My two children are still small, but when I look at the kids I often work with in Africa, we often notice how much we expect from the girls. We want them to appear self-confident, to make themselves heard and to deal with their sexuality in a self-determined manner. And all of that is right and important. But the main problem, why all this is necessary in the first place, is that we don’t educate the boys to behave correctly. That’s why I make it my job to teach my son to treat women with respect and equality. Because without the men changing, nothing can change for us women either.
Interview conducted by Patrick Heidmann.