For its annual Actress Roundtable, the Hollywood Reporter gathered Lady Gaga, Nicole Kidman, Rachel Weisz, Regina Hall, and Kathryn Hahn for a discussion on how the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have shaped Hollywood in 2018.
“I got a ‘Laverne & Shirley‘ credit on this movie [‘Private Life‘],” Hahn tells her fellow actresses. “That’s when you are side by side with your co-star, which is a rarity. It usually would have been the dude and, you know, the gal.”
“Was the dude happy about it?” Close asks, as Hahn responds: “It was Paul Giamatti. He was like, ‘Of course. This is exactly what should happen.'”
“That’s what is so exciting with the #MeToo movement and Time’s Up, to see men coming to stand by our side and say, ‘We want you to be loud. We want to hear your voices.’ It’s really remarkable,” Gaga adds.
For the women gathered by THR, all have experienced a change in 2018, whether it’s getting a movie made that seemed impossible only a short time ago or having those conversations about equal pay and billing on set.
“We got this film [Karyn Kusama’s undercover cop drama ‘Destroyer’] made, which probably would have been even harder before. I see that as part of the movement. And hopefully, there will be a lot more films with female directors,” says Kidman.
Close agrees, explaining her critically acclaimed film “The Wife” was a struggle to get made.
“I’ve been a part of two films that took 14 years to make,” Close says. “The first one was ‘Albert Nobbs’ and the second was ‘The Wife‘. It was actually hard to find actors who wanted to be in a movie called ‘The Wife’. It’s two women writers, and, you know, starring a woman. No one wanted to [make it] and, most of the money, if not all the money, came from Europe.”
“‘The Favourite’ apparently took 20 years to make,” Weisz says of her new period drama, “because there is lesbianism and three females at the centre of it.”
As the conversation turns to #MeToo moments, Close shares a story from early in her career.
“It was at an audition, and the very famous, very big actor that I was reading with put his hand on my thigh,” she says. “It had nothing to do with the character. Or the scene. It just froze me up.”
“It’s a trauma response,” Gaga tells her.
In response to changing attitudes, “If Beale Street Could Talk” star King says she’s having more conversations with her peers and fellow actresses, calling this wave “an all-inclusive sisterhood,” adding it’s been “pretty freaking fantastic.”
“So now it’s like, ‘Oh, shoot. I never had a conversation with any of my female peers that were experiencing the same thing,'” King says.
As Close says, it’s now their duty as actresses to make sure the culture “doesn’t go back” to where they started, it’s up to them to not let this momentum “go away.” Kidman is more than willing to have younger actresses ask her questions about salaries or industry advice.
“It’s hard, especially if you are very young in this industry starting out, because you are trying to be good and obedient and to not be troublesome,” she says. “But it’s lovely to have a bunch of people that go, ‘Come ask us. We’ve got some experience and we’re willing to share it.'”
Like Kidman, Weisz is all about focusing on the future and the next generation of women on and off the screen.
“[I want] young girls growing up [to] see stories being told where a woman takes a central role,” the Oscar winner star says, “where she is not peripheral to the story. She’s driving the story, and so, you as a kid can go, ‘Oh, that’s me. I can identify.'”