“The Glorias,” the biopic celebrating the life and work of activist Gloria Steinem, struggled to get financing from Hollywood because of negative stereotypes surrounding women-oriented projects, according to director, producer and writer Julie Taymor.
“Even with Gloria Steinem’s best-seller, with Julianne Moore attached, with myself, with Gloria being executive producer, it’s perceived as a film for women,” Taymor said at a Tuesday webinar hosted by WrapWomen. “It was still this mentality for projects that are women-oriented that, ‘Eh, I don’t know if I want to spend that kind of money.’
“We got our money not-for-profit from two philanthropists who never give money to movies. … They knew Gloria, she knew them. We went up, we met with them, they gave us the money,” Taymor continued, declining to name the philanthropists because they didn’t want to take credit. “We didn’t get the money out of Hollywood.”
It’s not just Hollywood. On Broadway, though progress has been made, the lack of representation for women creatives continues to be overt.
“I think it’s always been hard for women directors. They’re getting more and more, they’re getting asked to do Broadway. I was the first woman to receive a Tony for a musical on Broadway,” Taymor said. “Has it gotten better? Yeah. But not a lot.”
BroadwayHD founder and producer Bonnie Comley noted that while the majority of Broadway ticket-buyers are women, the creators of the shows on Broadway don’t reflect the same demographic breakdown.
“If we look at the last full season, which was the 2018-2019 season, you had 41 theaters, you had two women directors, three female composers, I think one woman lyricist, and that’s it,” Comley said. “We’re just not there yet with having gender equality, at all.”
Carol Kaplan, an entertainment attorney at Loeb & Loeb, did note that there is a younger generation of producers seeking to bring underrepresented voices to Broadway, as well as not-for-profits that have been backing productions that “don’t fit any of the boxes” for commercial theater and finding a way to bring them to the stage.
“The talent is there,” Comley said. “It’s not a pipeline issue.”