Jessica Chastain’s comments at the Cannes Film Festival have spurred the coals in Hollywood’s conversation about about the need for stronger roles for women. Betty Gilpin, one of the stars in Netflix’s new comedy-drama about female wrestling in the ’80s, says that shows like “GLOW” are on the right track.
“This show is a step in the right direction because it shows us as three dimensional,” she told TheWrap at the Wednesday night premiere at the Arclight Dome in Hollywood. In fact, “GLOW” takes traditional female stereotypes and turns them into empowering personas.
Created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch (one of the masterminds behind “Orange Is The New Black,” another female-dominated Netflix original), “GLOW” features an ensemble cast starring Alison Brie alongside Gilpin, who plays Debbie, a former soap opera star turned stay-at-home mom, who reignites herself when she’s cast as a female wrestler.
“[The show] shows our strengths and our flaws in 14 different ways. I think wrestling plays on that a little bit,” she told TheWrap. “You know, in wrestling there are types — good girl, bad girl. The juxtaposition of our lives outside of the ring shows that me personally, Betty, I’m 15 types a day — just, it depends on how much coffee I’ve had.”
And Gilpin says that all of those facets of womanhood were celebrated on set. “Creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch commanded our set with a greater authority than any of the bro-gargoyles of yore, but with open arms, back rubs, and eye contact,” she wrote in an essay for Glamour on Friday. “This created the constant sense of: You are loved and celebrated–and now that you’re comfortable, please give us your goddamn guts and soul so we can make the best thing possible. Also, have this Philly cheese steak for God’s sake.”
The wrestling characters also helped Gilpin find new perspective. “I had a similar revelation as Debbie does that it is the highest form of soap opera and theater, that every match is a different episode and there are long running story lines and especially female wrestling, it’s like Barbie Coliseum. It feels centuries old,” she told TheWrap.
That “centuries old” feeling comes out particularly in Gilpin’s character. “Motherhood sort of opens a door to [women’s] cave woman self that they never had access to, and I think that it’s important to funnel that into something, whether it’s wrestling or just throwing your blender across the room when you’re alone in your house,” she told TheWrap.
You can watch “GLOW” now on Netflix.