Elizabeth Banks delivered some hard truths about women and Hollywood on Wednesday, which included a knock for hallowed director Steven Spielberg.
Accepting an award from non-profit group Women in Film, Banks expressed her frustration over the lack of female stories in the marketplace and the low number of women invited to tell those stories.
“I went to ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘Jaws’ and every movie Steven Spielberg ever made, and by the way, he’s never made a movie with a female lead. Sorry, Steven. I don’t mean to call your ass out but it’s true,” Banks told the crowd at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Actually, of the 30 feature films Spielberg has directed, one did feature a female protagonist. That was 1985’s “The Color Purple.” Someone in the audience pointed this out to Banks, and the star moved on.
Her comments echo ones made by Juliette Binoche, who last year revealed she once confronted Spielberg about his lack of female leads.
Banks discussed how her sons are often exposed to empowering female stories like in Disney’s “Frozen,” and how they will see “Wonder Woman” when they’re old enough.
“Buy a fucking ticket to a movie with a woman, take them, give them the experience of seeing amazing women on film,” Banks encouraged of mothers.
Her point, however, was not diluted: opportunity is dramatically limited for female directors, so their on-screen stories are not equally represented.
“I directed one movie. I’m really glad to be up here and getting an award, but it’s really about expanding the roles of women in this industry,” she told the crowd, which included her presenter and Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley.
“Part of the reason I’m here is because the movie made $287 million,” Banks said, referring to Universal’s “Pitch Perfect 2.” She’ll next direct a reboot of the “Charlie’s Angels” franchise.
TheWrap did a quick gender tally of Spielberg’s films, by the way. One could argue the 1974 film “The Sugarland Express” had a female lead in Goldie Hawn, and his recent “The BFG” had a young female lead in Ruby Barnhill — but most of the conversation in that film centered around Spielberg’s latest must Mark Rylance).
Banks seems to be on the money.