If true gender equality in Hollywood is ever going to take place, it will be due to the efforts of feminist women and men.
That’s the message coming from “Game of Thrones” actress Natalie Dormer, who speaks her mind in a new interview with Glamour.
“People often say Hollywood doesn’t have a heritage of strong female protagonists,” says Dormer, 36. “I disagree — we do. It’s just that in conventional male storytelling, when a female protagonist is determined or unorthodox, she typically finds herself coming to an unhappy end.”
In fact, Dormer says that her new film “In Darkness” — directed by Anthony Byrne, with whom she co-wrote the script — is a response to that particular Hollywood trope.
“Anthony is a feminist. He believes in equality, and his short films (like the award-winning ‘Short Order’) have always been female-centric. Our new thriller, ‘In Darkness’, in which I play a blind pianist who overhears her neighbour’s murder, was born from our mutual frustration with the landscape of female characters in this genre.”
While she admits her latest film “may look like part of a recent wave of feminist films,” she points out that “this moment in entertainment took almost a decade to build. After Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Black Swan’ in 2010, women in Hollywood were kind of looking to our left and our right and saying, ‘This is happening.’ In so many press junkets for ‘The Hunger Games’, in which I played the tattooed rebel Cressida, my cast mates and I discussed the importance of female protagonists who are imperfect, who are neither angel nor whore.”
Since she and Byrne first started working on “In Darkness” nine years ago, “the landscape has changed so much,” she admits. “I know it’s happening more slowly than any of us would like, but it is happening. And I think women should celebrate what we are achieving right now without forgetting to embrace our feminist, equalist men. Because they are there. It is bizarre to think we can solve issues of gender inequality without half of society’s participants. Men must be viewed as part of the solution for lasting, effective change.”
She adds: “We all have the right to speak up, but we also have to listen. We’re all terrified, and we have good reason to be. The world is a terrifying place right now. But what our foresisters fought for was choice. Do I want to be a high-powered CEO? Do I want to be a mother with five kids? No one choice is more feminist than the other. The feminism is in the choice. So I choose to focus on working with men who want to change the way stories about unorthodox and complex women end.”
“In Darkness” arrived in theatres May 25; you can check out the trailer below: