Olivia Wilde has some remarkable thoughts on female roles in Hollywood

Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde occupies a certain “sexy female sidekick” niche in Hollywood. Or she did until last year when she announced her pregnancy with Jason Sudeikis, and you know how Hollywood feels about pregnant women. Which is fair enough … I guess. One can’t play a hot girlfriend or femme fatale type while visibly knocked up by some mysterious offscreen source. Men never have to worry about that stuff. They can knock up their wives, girlfriends, and randoms, and the roles shall continue unabated. Sort of like the real world.

I have grown to like Olivia even if her days are numbered (pregnancy or not) as an onscreen presence. I’m so glad she and Jason stopped making sh-t up about their zomg awesome sex life because nobody wants to hear that stuff. Olivia seems acutely, painfully aware of her waning marketability. Part of that is because she’s made some really bad role choices. Nobody thought The Incredible Burt Wonderstone would do well. Okay, maybe someone thought it would do business, but nobody actually wanted to see it themselves. Another reason for Livvy’s downswing is that Hollywood grows tired of the same starlets. Out with the old, and in with whomever is waiting in line.

Female roles are also so stereotypical. Women usually get stuck with “girlfriend” or “sassy sidekick” and nothing else.Other than Bridesmaids and The Hunger Games, I can’t think of any female-driven films to really make a mark in the past few years. Olivia is tired of this crap. She’s calling Hollywood out for a State of Female Justice panel on GRITtv.org. What she says makes complete sense:

“I’m offering up my voice here as a representative of the media, which is often (I think) fairly criticized for being a big part of the problem when it comes to justice for women, equality for women, how women are objectified, how we objectify ourselves. I think a lot about where that problem is stemming from. Our responsibility is to be storytellers, and why aren’t we telling the stories to empower the masses, to educate them to avoid a lot of these situations. It seems like that’s really part of the healing process — the community coming together and empowering themselves through the power of the group and understanding that they don’t have to put up with that sh-t anymore.

Why isn’t that coming from the media? Why aren’t women in particular being empowered from a young age from the media. So I’m really interested in that. It’s not entirely surprising that within the media, in Hollywood, they can’t even figure out their own system of injustice. And that is something that I confront on a day-to-day basis. Any woman working at any level in any part of Hollywood will tell you … it’s really hard to get any stories made that are about women … not just women being obsessed with men or supporting men. And it’s really hard to get men to be a part of films that are about women in a leading role.

I’m really interested in how we can adjust that considering that it’s all based on the demand. Movies are made based upon what people are asking for. Magazines are sold based upon what they think people are asking for. So really the power is in our hands, and it’s really just a matter of asking for it much louder.

I don’t know if some of you have been to these live reads at LACMA, where a classic film is read live on stage by actors who just sit and read the script. We did one recently of American Pie, but we reversed the gender roles. All the women played men; all the men played women. And it was so fascinating to be a part of this because, as the women took on these central roles — they had all the good lines, they had all the good laughs, all the great moments — the men who joined us to sit on stage started squirming rather uncomfortably and got really bored because they weren’t used to being the supporting cast.

It was fascinating to feel their discomfort [and] to discuss it with them afterward, when they said, “It’s boring to play the girl role!” And I said, “Yeah. Yeah. You think? Welcome to our world!” It was also fascinating to see how the movie was just as entertaining and hilarious and exciting with women getting these roles. It clearly should be done more often. When we switch the roles, which has been done with movies, many of you probably know already that in Aliens, Sigourney Weaver’s role was written for a man. In Salt, Angelina Jolie’s role was written for Tom Cruise. These things, when reversed, have proven to be just as exciting and entertaining with women in leading roles.

[From GRITtv]

What’s amusing about this topic is that both Amber Heard and Rashida Jones have been complaining about the dearth of interesting female roles, but Livvy really drives the point home. I think the most convincing part of her speech is where she admits that audience “demand” is the biggest obstacle in seeing better roles for females. Do people really want to see kick-ass females? I hope so.

Here’s a video clip of Olivia’s speech. I’m sure she rehearsed it and prepared ahead of time, but she executes it in an “off the cuff” manner. She’s amazingly good at arguing her point. I hope filmmakers are listening.

Olivia Wilde

Photos courtesy of WENN

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117 Responses to “Olivia Wilde has some remarkable thoughts on female roles in Hollywood”

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  1. Jen says:

    She is very eloquent.

    This would carry more weight if an actual good actress was saying it though…

    • foodlover says:

      I guess that is part of the point she’s making…since there are no good roles, how can she prove she is a good actress? i like her.

      • Just Me says:

        Agreed. Loved her since she was “13″ on House. She’s not a bad actress, and the girl comes from a highly intellectual family. She’s not some vapid starlet.

    • FLORC says:

      Yup. I agree with her stance on the issue. This isn’t her arguement or speech. It’s been repeated with mild variations for years and years.

      And the good, strong women roles are out there. Just for actresses that can pull them off. Knightly, Jolie, OTT. There are loads more and I think the audiancce does demand to see it. I sure do. Just from a good actress.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        FLORC, I strongly disagree that there are good, strong roles out there for women (but just the women that can pull them off as you say).

        The facts do not support that. The number of female characters (not staring roles, mind you, just characters) is INCREDIBLY small compared to men in tv and film. If a man writes or directs a piece (tv or film), the average is that only about 24% of those characters will be female! That is a HUGE and very important difference! When you add in the fact that women are directing less than 3% of major projects…that tells you something about the overall big picture!

    • ToodySezHey says:

      That was my thought exactly. Nobody cares what some floptastic actress has to say.

      Coming from Olivia, though her point is valid, it just sounds like sour grapes from a woman who fails to get the good roles. Its kind of a Jessica Biel-esque in a way. Remember that interview where Biel said she didnt get good roles because her ‘beauty was too intimidating’ or some such? LOL :)

      • TJ says:

        Ms. Wilde is getting pretty good roles these days and she has a name, at least for now, But I hope her fame lasts, because I think she is more then just a pretty face, for example because remaks like this. Plus i think she is an above average actress .

        Plus she is not demanding a change here because of herself, but because of her fellow colleagues, and all the woman filmakers out there. This is a pretty unselfish statement here.

      • MaiGirl says:

        I agree, TJ. I am not sure what her future holds, and she certainly never has transcended B-list, but she isn’t D-list either, and you can see she has chops when she doesn’t pick a shit role. She was really good in Deadfall, a little-seen modern film noire that was an underrated little gem. I hope she gets good roles, and that her feistiness doesn’t get her completely blacklisted. Sometimes the truth hurts the people with the power to hurt you back.

    • Liv says:

      This so much. It’s just not believable when people like Garner and Berry demand more privacy or Wilde and Heard want better roles. They are not good actresses, period.

      • Nikkie says:

        Agree, she is the wrong messenger for this argument. She sells herself as the hot girl not as an actor so she is cast in those roles. There are so meaty supporting roles for women but those require someone who is talented enough to do them. Many times they are actresses who aren’t major sex symbols. I don’t see Olivia Wild pulling of those supporting roles that Amy Adams plays for example.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        “She sells herself as the hot girl not as an actor so she is cast in those roles.”

        Seriously, how many roles do you think are available for women in their twenties that are NOT the hot girl? Very, very, very few. People might think that she is a poor actress, but she is 100% completely right in all of the facts she is presenting here. I think she does it in a very articulate and pointed manner.

      • Jessica says:


        “There are so meaty supporting roles for women”

        Key word being SUPPORTING. Olivia’s whole point is that there aren’t many meaty LEAD roles for women.

        I realize you don’t like Olivia and don’t think she’s a good actress, but that doesn’t make her point invalid. Compared to how many roles, especially lead roles, for men there are, women are severely underrepresented.

        Now that’s just for actors. When we get into female writers and directors, that underrepresentation is even more pronounced.

        Again, just because you don’t like Olivia and don’t think she’s a good actress, doesn’t mean she isn’t completely right.

    • marie says:

      She was a revelation in Drinking Buddies. I watched it for Ana Kendrick but Livvy here was sp compelling and mesmerizing in that role.

    • Seán says:

      I think many of you just dislike her because you didn’t like some of her earlier quotes or because she’s picked some bad movies. It’s absolutely subjective of course but Olivia Wilde is not a bad actress. She’s definitely starred in mostly stinkers (Cowboys and Aliens, The Change Up, Year One, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone) and this has affected her box office clout negatively but I’ve seen her in many movies and I think she’s great. In Drinking Buddies, Rush and Her (more recent films she’s done) , she’s done a great job, particularly with the latter two where she’s had small roles. I’m not saying she’s a revelation or anything but definitely not “awful”.

      Same goes for Amber Heard. Heard has never blown me away in anything but she’s been solid in what I’ve seen. Like Olivia Wilde, she’s picked some really bad movie roles though and has played underwritten characters.

    • liz_bee says:

      I didn’t think she was that great until I saw Drinking Buddies. She killed it, especially considering that the movie was made with a minimal script, and the actors really had to contribute. She’s fantastic. And she speaks the truth.

  2. JKL says:

    She was really good in Drinking Buddies, so if she can stick to more character driven films rather than underwritten girlfriend types, I think she’ll have something of a career.

    • don't kill me i'm french says:

      she’s also convincing in her small part in RUSH

    • Lilacflowers says:

      Yes, JKL, I was impressed and surprised by her performance in Drinking Buddies.

    • FLORC says:

      Drinking buddies was good by everyone in it The whole cast and script made it good.

      • TJ says:

        Actually FLORC Drinking Buddies didn’t have a script. It was almost 100% improvised. But I agree the whole cast was wonderful in it. And Olivia and Jake Johnson had amazing chemistry.

    • Seán says:

      I’ll add Her to the list of good performances Olivia Wilde has given. She only plays a minor character opposite Joaquin Phoenix but I think she did a great job adding some depth and a sense of loneliness to a character who could have just been the comically overbearing date to Phoenix’s character.

  3. don't kill me i'm french says:

    the success of Gravity,ZDT,The Heat or Bridemaids prove the audience wants to see the women in kick-ass character
    the success of Sandra Bullock,Jennifer Lawrence or Jessica Chastain prove it even if i think a part of their success is because of their off-screen personality

    • Norman Bates' Mother says:

      August: Osage County is another recent female-driven movie. It’s a drama so female roles cannot really be described as kick-ass but the entire movie was carried by women while Ewan McGregor and Dermot Mulroney’s characters could have been played by anyone and their only purpose was to explain the behaviour and personality traits of their female partners. The movie did quite well.

    • Mark says:

      Bridemaids was just American Pie with women it was silly and how was Gravity kick ass? Just two astronauts in space.

      The problem is with most kick ass female role the characters aren’t women, they’re always superwomen. Even Sly Stallone will get beat on in a movie but if you stick Angelina Jolie in there no one will touch her.

      ZDT was good but The Hunger Games was terrible a plagiarized mess.

    • Mark says:

      also will people really be fine people seeing a woman get a Bane style beatdown on screen by a male character?

      • Aisha says:

        I’d rather see a woman get beat up by a male character in a fight than yet another male on female rape scene where a woman is basically used and abused so the male character has a motive to fight the baddy or as an extremely gross way to show T&A. I’m sorry but if people can handle a woman being raped onscreen then they sure as hell can get used to seeing her get bloodied in a fight, at least in the latter she’s not just a passive victim used for the sake of a storyline.

  4. Talie says:

    I bet she and Amber Heard go after the same roles in films that flop.

  5. QQ says:

    Really? THATS IT!! I demand to know which one of you guyses is asking for these terrible Kate Hudson plays anpther ding dong movies and Jennifer Aniston Hair Commercials! IT NEEDS TO STOP! No more Judy Greer as a sidekick! We need judy Greer front and center!

    • blue marie says:

      I’m with you on the Judy Greer bit, her talents are being wasted!

    • ToodySezHey says:

      Judy is EVERYTHING. Love her in ARcher.

    • Artemis says:

      Who says she wants to be front and center? Some actors like supporting roles or small roles. They love acting so it doesn’t matter to them if they get a lead role or not. The people who want to make it big, usually have a big ego and are insecure and maybe not even the talent to back those aspirations up. I don’t think JG has either of that. She’s just like Ellen Page, she has an amazing career, is recognizable but not a movie star or a lead.

  6. Jennifer12 says:

    It truly is depressing how far we HAVEN’T come.

    • LadySlippers says:

      Amen to that.

      Ironically, men ruled the studios way back in the day but plenty of women got interesting parts AND leading roles. Can you imagine Katherine Hepburn or Bette Davis trying to be leading actresses today? Wouldn’t happen. Neither meet today’s (really Hollywood — they’d be fine in the UK) standards of beauty and their ferocity would have scared most men.

      • Aisha says:

        Hmmm, that made me wonder if maybe the ballsy-er roles for women in the past weren’t seen as actually threatening because of the lack of power women actually had in society back then (I’m thinking Hitchcock movies and the like so around 1940s and 50s) so it was more of a fantasy, whereas now, women have more power in society but the current trend on screen is for women to display less power, have fewer lines, and their characters less developed… Or maybe it’s just the studios fault for refusing to take risks anymore? Either way it’s disappointing.

    • bluhare says:

      Yes it is. It’s tragic to watch the U-turn too.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I completely agree…but I am so glad that we are starting to hear more and more women speaking up about this issue.

      If anyone is interested, Geena Davis has written some REALLY amazing things and formed an organziation called “See Jane”. She was shocked how we aren’t seeing women AT ALL in any form. Women are represented in extraordinarily low number in tv and film. Not even main characters here…just being shown at all. Geena has even put ads in trade papers asking screen writers to include the phrase in their screenplays when writing crowd scenes:

      (From Hollywood Reporter, Geena Davis):
      “When describing a crowd scene, write in the script, “A crowd gathers, which is half female.” That may seem weird, but I promise you, somehow or other on the set that day the crowd will turn out to be 17 percent female otherwise. Maybe first ADs think women don’t gather, I don’t know.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Here is a link to Geena’s article from the Hollywood Reporter:


        “It was the dearth of female characters in the worlds of the stories — the fact that the fictitious villages and jungles and kingdoms and interplanetary civilizations were nearly bereft of female population — that hit me over the head. This being the case, we are in effect enculturating kids from the very beginning to see women and girls as not taking up half of the space. Couldn’t it be that the percentage of women in leadership positions in many areas of society — Congress, law partners, Fortune 500 board members, military officers, tenured professors and many more — stall out at around 17 percent because that’s the ratio we’ve come to see as the norm?” (<<<<<<<< See the 17% stat and how it is also the percentage of female representation in film/tv for over 60 years!)

  7. TJ says:

    “I have grown to like Olivia even if her days are numbered (pregnancy or not) as an onscreen presence.”
    Uhm sorry, but this is BS. She had the best year BY FAR in her career in 2013 with Drinking Buddies, Her and Rush.

    And she puts her money where her mouth is. She will shoot a movie(Meadowland) in the summer which will be directed by a woman, produced by women and basically she is the leading name of the project (she is also one of the producers).

    As for her point here – I hope the women in Hollywood will rise. It’s a shame that there are so few woman directors working. And you can count in 2 hands those who made themselves a name as a director. Plus it is veeeeery hard to get the money for an original movie directed by a woman. I know even a true icon like Jodie Foster had many (at least 4)projects canceled, because even she cannot collected enough money to start the production.
    Same goes for producers, but there are hope there with people like Megan Ellison who produced Zero Dark Thirty, American Hustle and Her (and she received Oscar noms for these movies – and she is only 28 years old!).

    • Miss M says:

      I agree with your points. I am not trying to discredit Megan Ellison ‘s skills, but I think the path may have been less difficult to her considering her father is a billionaire, non?!

      • LAK says:

        I was coming here to say the same thing and Megan Ellison. She is billionaire spawn. She’s using her trust fund to make films.

        Funny, she isn’t generally backing female auteurs though her stated aim *is* auteurs. Or even female led/driven stories. And she specifically looks at star name auteurs.

        I know we need to start from somewhere, but Megan isn’t it.

        Her brother uses his trustfund to push the other end of the scale ie pop corn movies.

      • TJ says:

        That’s true. But if she using her wealth to help creating good movies and great main female roles (like Jessica Chastain had in ZDT) could boost this process Ms. Wilde is talked about in her remarks. And Megan Ellison’s success could open doors for other women as well in every level.

        Ms. Wilde and Ms. Ellison are worked together on “Her” and I remember Olivia praised her being a producer of films like “Her”.

        (Quote from the Hollywood Reporter)
        “Wilde praises Ellison, who she says was on set during filming.
        “She’s a very hands-on producer, and I really applaud what she’s doing,” the actress says. “I’m a huge fan of her company, and I’m really grateful that she’s around.”

        Women in Hollywood need more Megan Ellison’s.

      • LAK says:

        TJ: I don’t doubt that Megan was ‘hands on’. She’s known to be ‘hands on’.

        Where I dismiss her as some sort of hope is that she doesn’t back unknown roles or even female creators. Kathryn Bigelow is the exception, but only because Kathryn is a star name.

        The female producers I rate, who look for female creators as well as new materials are people like Alison Owen (gave Cate Blanchett her big break), Alix Madigan (gave JLaw her big break)….to name just 2 people. these are people who seek out new material, and the females in their films are pretty strong, have female led films in their back catalogue.

        Megan Allison doesn’t support new material unless it has a star name attached and unfortunately the ‘star names’ are 90% male (if you discount actors). Her films remain male driven pieces.

        Speaking of trustfund people who do look for new material and new talent…..Trudie Styler. yes. It’s mostly sting’s money, but she is a producer who is prepared to back new talent irrespective of gender.

      • Miss M says:

        I agree with you, LAK. Thanks for pointing out other female producers who’ve been doing a great job in the industry.

  8. Lolo-ology says:

    The “lack of demand” bs really irks me. Especially in the comics-adaptation genre. The first company to jettison off Sausage Island and make a (good) female superhero movie, will reap an absolute windfall. That’s because the demand is not just coming from the womens alone, there are a lot of guys who want to see a character that reminds them of their own kickass girlfriends, sisters, friends, etc.

    • LadySlippers says:

      I agree. I think the demand IS out there but since it scares the powers that be — they’ll only put out crappy movies by women (without funding and the right support) and try and convince the world that’s only what women can do. It’s just simply not true. Men make crappy movies too, especially without the right support, only makes sense the same is true for women.

      I’d like to see the entire sci-fi fantasy genre open up to women. It’s LONG over due and when that baby cracks — it’s gonna crack open big. I’d like to be a part of that too. :-D

      • LAK says:

        I’m sorry to tell you that all this hand wringing is exactly that.

        You the audience *are* supporting these films or not supporting the films that *are* female led/indies/other ethnicities.

        Hollywood is about money. End of.

        It’s so frustrating to me to come on here and see all the hand wringing and yet you won’t support the alternative films that are out there. Even if they are crappy. There are so many crappy male led films that still find an audience, even if that’s VOD or direct to DVD or even niche market.

        Olivia is 100% right.

        And this is a fight that the women in Hollywood can’t win IF the audiences don’t support their output.

      • LadySlippers says:

        Great point.

        I do try and match my words and my pocketbook because I get that everyone listens to the bottom line.

        All throughout the sci-fi world, you’ll hear how marginalized women are even though they are a decent portion of the audience. And would like to be on the creation side too but find those doors firmly shut.

        So while I do think discussing this issue is important LAK your spot on that we also need to follow through with our actions in order to make a real impact.

      • Observer says:

        I disagree with you LAK.
        Hollywood is not all about money….if that were the case they’d hire more brown, black and other/asian etc actors and actresses. They’d make a lot of money overseas in Africa, Asia that way, more money than they are currently making. And that is saying a lot since Hollywood is a multi billion dollar business.
        Hollywood has its own agenda.

    • FLORC says:

      Lack of demand gets me too. There is a demand. You just have to be a good enough actress to pull it off. Much like how Aniston will never be in a movie outside her romcom bubble. She doesn’t have the skills. Olivia is making the point more towards bring more roles of strong females to Hollywood so she can have a shot at one. Not the amount so far because those are all taken by the talented actresses.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        This isn’t about being a good actress or not. It is about women being represented on screen. In group scenes, women have only been 17% of the characters since 1946!!!!!!!!!!!!! 17%! For nearly 70 years!

  9. L says:

    So as for the ‘demand’ thing-women make up 60% of movie audiences. Ladies see MORE movies than men do. Women see more movies multiple times as well.
    The problem is
    1) women will see all movies, but men won’t watch what they perceive as a ‘chick flick’ (or at least that’s what holly wood thinks)
    2) all the big studio heads, producers with the $ etc are men. They are going to make movies that they want to see, and that they think that other men will want to see-and have created a self approving narrative that ‘we will make more money if we sell movies to men’ (even though women make up a larger % of the movie going audience) Also they want the 18-25 young male market, because they think that group will be the ones to spend money.

    It’s the classic chicken and egg fallacy with that group. We don’t make more movies with strong female leads because women don’t see movies, but women don’t see movies because they want strong female leads.

    • LadySlippers says:

      I tried to say the chicken and egg thing myself but you say it more eloquently. lol

      Totally agree.

      (And this idea that men don’t see chick flicks is BS too)

      • Sloane Wyatt says:

        @LadySlippers, In my family we will NOT pay good $ for dreck. We only pay for what I pick. If DH wants the crap Our Corporate Masters are putting out, he watches it on the Boob Toob. If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

        I seek out what Sci Fi I want from the other sources. :)

    • frisbeejada says:

      I think you are right. It’s also a recognised phenomena that people hire other people for jobs who are just like them. If a man is in a job he is much more likely to hire another man. So you get a massive gender imbalance in executive roles across the majority of Industries/professions – not just the media. If the Industry really want’s to change they could consider a 50/50 male female hiring policy in executive roles. The argument against that is that people don’t get hired on their ability but for their gender and that’s patronising towards women…BUT if we rewind a bit to men hiring men it could address that root problem somewhat. Other professions are now considering it – even the right-wing Conservative political party in the UK “say” they are considering it (although I believe all politicans are compulsive liars…so who really knows?). It would be a practical place to start at least. The distance we have really travelled in terms of equality is totally pathetic and I can’t see it moving any faster until positive action is taken to promote women into decision making roles as a matter of social policy.

    • Kali says:

      Ding ding ding, we have a winner!

    • bluhare says:

      Mr. bluhare hates chick flicks. Won’t watch one, period. So we have to go see things that appeal to me and him. Trust me, we don’t get to the movies together very often.

  10. Lark says:

    She speaks the truth. Unless a woman gets lucky or is someone who has talent like Meryl Streep, the best they can really hope for is to land a franchise role that pays the big bucks or serious backend like HP, possibly Divergent, Twilight, Pirates, Avengers, Marvel, etc so they can be financially secure. Because they know when they hit 30 plus, the roles are going to start to dry up and they’ll likely be regulated to B movies or true indies which don’t pay much…. or they’ll have to go to TV (which is not always a step down these days, but look at someone like Marcia Gay Harden who went from award winning films to Trophy Wife).

  11. Luca26 says:

    She is totally right. The movies of today are so machismo or action oriented with barely any strong female presence and let’s forget about diversity. If there is a decent part out there there will give it to Jennifer Lawrence whether the character is 45 or 15 because she’s the only actress in Hollywood that movie execs like for the moment.

  12. Dhavynia says:

    Sometimes it’s not our fault. I’ve found that men think a movie with female leads are chic flicks without even knowing anything about the plot. I can see it will be hard considering executives are mostly men who want only men to be in power. How do we change the mind of pigs if they are the ones with the money
    That is why I don’t blame Rashida Jones saying the word whore because that’s what men in this business seem to be looking for and they are out there

    • LadySlippers says:

      But it’s the movie execs & media that help promote the idea that a female lead = chick flick. That idea wasn’t a thing during the Golden Age of Cinema and plenty of men saw films with strong female leads.

      We need to change that whole perception of what it means to have a female lead character.

      • Lolo-ology says:

        Exactly. We need more complex, fully fleshed-out female characters, instead of these one-dimensional tropes. Even the “kickass femme fatale” character, when poorly written, ends up as feeling like of those cardboard cutouts sometimes. Women are human, and humans tend to be deeply complicated and flawed.

      • LadySlippers says:

        @Lolo: ITA on all accounts. I used to love Tom Clancy until I realised his female characters weren’t even two dimensional. I lost respect for him as a writer because developing your characters is something we learned about in middle school and he didn’t even try with the women he wrote about. It was awful and he was an otherwise good writer.

        Overall, I think movie producers have gotten extremely lazy when it comes to a film’s writing. And we reward their focus on lazy writing so they keep getting away with it.

  13. ZigZagZoey says:

    Should I be ashamed? I kinda liked The Incredible Burt Wonderstone!
    I am liking Olivia better each time I see her in something.

  14. Mrs. Darcy says:

    I don’t know, I feel like there are hints of change. I just got around to watching “Hannah” and that was a fun combination of female vengeance meets maybe Run Lola Run, it got kind of silly in the end but it felt like something new and female driven in a powerful way. I mostly hated Bridesmaids but to each their own. There were tons of female driven indies in the late 90′s, like all those Catherine Keener films, Walking and Talking etc. Parker Posey also, her movies were always smart and funny. I don’t know, they are more my bag and those are the kinds of films I wish were still being made personally. And I don’t think Olivia Wilde is fit to fill those kind of shoes, for one.

    I do think the depth of strong female characters on t.v. is starting to have an effect -maybe not in Michael Bay blockbuster films but those aren’t movies I go see anyway. If I want to see a female action or super hero I want it to be smarter and better than any old dumb action flick a la Salt personally. I mean Kill Bill was amazing, I could watch it over and over again, but my need for these things is not insatiable. Personally I wish female roles were just written better across the board, I miss decent rom coms, Shonda Rhimes or somebody needs to write one. This sounds very “girlie” of me, I’m just not that into action movies though and in my experience I’m not really alone.

    • LadySlippers says:

      I strongly disliked Bridesmaids but can applaud the fact that a movie with a female driven cast did well.

      I think you can point to a lot of mini-trends of women driven movies it’s the sustaining it and then building on it that really interests me.

      ITA on better romcoms. Or better written movies in general. I think a lot of movies rely on razzle dazzle rather than a solid foundation and that’s just sad IMHO.

  15. Miffy says:

    While she has a point, I’m throwing side eye that now that she’s no longer sexy sidekick material she’s suddenly all about the feminism. Uh huh, totes legit, Livvy. No self serving motives there at all.

    Also can I suggest that if actresses such as Amber Hears feel like there are no credible roles out there for them, maybe they should try harder to be credible actors? The kind of women who are doing the most complaining sure dont have a massive amount to offer in terms of craft.

    At least Rashida Jones is being productive about it and taking on production roles to ensure she can actually make a difference rather than just shrieking discrimination.

    • TJ says:

      Uhm, I’m sorry you think she is “she’s no longer sexy”? Do you see these pictures attached to this article? She looking great even now. I saw very, very few seven month pregnant women who looks this good…

      • Miffy says:

        Excuse me, I never commented on her appearance, I said (as the article also stated) that she’s no longer a viable candidate for the random one dimensional roles that have been her bread and butter because (as also stated in the post) those roles generally don’t go to new mothers.

        And by the way the way did you really find it necessary to throw in the “at least she looks good for a pregnant woman” comment in on a post about feminism and gender inequality?

      • TJ says:

        Ok, now I understand what you saying. But I don’t think she wants those roles either anymore. I see a lot of small budget, but quality indies like Drinking Buddies in her future.

      • Miffy says:

        Hopefully, I can’t say I’m familiar with her work but it would be nice to see a few new members added to the ‘legitimate’ actress circle (the group who gets offered all the roles Wilde is referring to). She’ll do that providing she has the skills (which based on other people’s comments she does) and how much she’s willing to branch out herself.

      • TJ says:

        Amen to that, Miffy!

    • Artemis says:

      I think she always had these views. The first time I saw her onscreen was for House and while she is sexy, her character who was a doctor, was very complicated and interesting. She was good. So I don’t think she suddenly became feminist, 13 was arguably a meaty role to tackle and she rocked it. 13 is my favourite character, far more than Cameron was.

  16. nk868 says:

    i know people are complaining it needs to come from a more “credible” (ie been given chances to take on ‘serious’ roles) actress, but i think coming from someone who comes from a educated background (she went to andover) and can eloquently convey her point makes her credible and helps her cause. she isn’t whining or giving excuses for a lackluster career, she’s discussing a problem in an intelligent way and coming at it with experience and an informed perspective.

    quite different from jessica biel saying she’s simply too beautiful to be cast in those serious roles… because angelina jolie is such a beast…?

  17. Maureen says:

    Um, how is she “a representative of the media”? This is why I can’t stand her: entitlement attitude.

    • TJ says:

      Because she represented the media in this panel. There were women from very different areas like a mayor of a small local city(Richmond, CA), a community organizer, a UCLA law professor. And yes, she represented the media among them. So there was no entitlement attitude at all. The whole 90 minutes long discussion is on youtube by the way, so you can see it yourself.

      • Maureen says:

        She’s not a member of the media. She’s an actress and barely a good one at that. I said she’s got an entitlement attitude because she does. Her MOTHER was a well-known journalist. Olivia gets called on to make a statement about her profession and suddenly she fancies herself a “representative of the media”. I’d laugh if it wasn’t so transparently pathetic and arrogant.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Many people consider employees of media companies (GE, NewsCorp, Disney, etc.) and their studios to be a part of the media. Her films are made by media companies. I think there is a difference between media and “press” aka journalists.

      • Maureen says:

        I’m sorry, I don’t mean to belabor the issue or nitpick, I really don’t. But I have never — in almost 40 years on this earth — heard the acting business referred to as “media”. At the most its members are referred to as “the art/artistic community” (if you want to be high-brow) and at the least as “show business” or “the entertainment industry”. But never “media”. I just find it really elitist and “extra”. And I have to side-eye any actor who suddenly — without any real merit or experience — tries to give themselves a special label.

        But then again, Hollywood used to be solely about movies and television (and the occasional scandal) — not political activism.

  18. kimbers says:

    I think one problem is hollywood sucks at casting sometimes.

    I liked her in drinking buddies

  19. Algernon says:

    Might I recommend In A World for everyone’s viewing pleasure? It’s a great movie, lots of funny bits, and it’s starring, written and directed by Lake Bell.

    I don’t think Olivia Wilde is a terrible actress, but I don’t think she’s great, either. She isn’t very compelling and I tend to forget she’s in things. I’m sure she is frustrated by the lack of good roles for women, but I also think some of her frustration stems from not being at the top of anyone’s list. I can think of a lot of actresses who are not having a problem booking varied and interesting work, she just isn’t one of them. So while she does have a valid point, I can’t help but hear, “I’m not getting offered good roles,” when she’s trying to say, “There are no good roles.”

    It is interesting, though, that we’ve got more women getting involved behind the camera than ever before. Especially among younger actresses, there’s an attitude of not sitting around and waiting for it to fall in their laps. They’re writing, producing, directing their own movies to ensure they get to tell the stories they want and play the kinds of characters they find interesting and challenging. I think that’s the only way for it to change, really, if the actresses just start making movies for themselves and then audiences find and embrace them.

    • lower-case deb says:

      ITA, and to somewhat continue the discussion in the Natalie Portman post a few days ago…
      i really don’t mind what kind of writer/producer/director to come out of the woodwork, as long as they’re women.

      good ones, bad ones, chickflick ones, oscarbait ones, b-movie, z-movie, even xxx-movies. just more women out there, to create a healthy gender-balanced competition.

      i think there’s still “continuously-upward-moving-bar” for women directors/writers/etc, expecting them to hit the ground running (get oscar with debut movie! why is she still making movies, her first one is crap! etc) is just a way to put more obstacles in the path of the collective. men has been making crap movies for ages and everyone just shrug.

      and this is just gender, let’s not even get into race, etc and all of that

      sorry for the incoherency btw. someone will surely come and make a compelling argument. :)

    • minime says:

      Thanks for the recommendation. I added it to my watch list, seems cool :)

      I also don’t think that Olivia Wilde is the best actress in the world, but I liked her in Dr. House, that was the only thing where I remember to see her. I guess that referring to mainstream Hollywood (that probably is what she’s talking about) there are not so many good roles for women, and certainly the ones that exist are going to other kind of (top) actresses.
      I also agree that you see a new wave of young women getting involved in writing and producing, and creating interesting films also focusing other kind of female characters (like Zoe Kazan or Sarah Polley). Still, not everyone is suited to be a director or a writer and prepare their own role, so I understand what Olivia means. In mainstream Hollywood there is an extremely unequal gender role distribution, regarding to the importance of the character in a story, that probably reflects nothing more than the society we live in. Of course we can say that she could choose another branch of the industry, like the indie, or work her career in a different way where she doesn’t accept to play the sexy girl, but I still think it’s positive and necessary to call on attention here, since in the end this is the industry that will reach the biggest amount of people and Art (or Media) also has a role in society. All of that to say that I think that her message has a very positive point.

  20. dizzylucy says:

    I would calI her comments correct, but maybe not remarkable. Women have been saying this for a long time. There are some great roles out there, but it’s a very small club of actresses who get them, and Olivia isn’t there.
    I think the experiment of gender reversal for the script reading was really interesting though. That would be an educational exercise for anyone working on a script.

  21. minime says:

    She made me like her more. I for one would love to see more kickass power female roles. And as others said, she said it in a quite eloquent and intelligent way, so no matter what my former impression of her is, credibility is rooted in these two characteristics of her speech (where other have previously failed, cof cof “Amber something I’m seeing Johnny”).

    Actually I recently discover this great director, Denis Villeneuve, and he seems to have many movies with core female roles (I watched Incendies and Maelström and certainly will look for other movies). Same goes for Almodóvar…

  22. MissNostalgia says:

    Well, if you carve yourself a niche in the business based on how sexy you are…then you are going to get the girlfriend, sassy side-kick, girlfriend roles. There are many actresses out there who are doing it for themselves….Jennifer Lawrence, Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Olivia Williams, etc. and one of my all time favorites, Judy Dench. Olivia Wilde talks an exaggerated game and she profiles for all of the trendy causes, but she is not exceptional. And, as this article points out, there is always, always, someone hotter, cuter, younger to step into the roles. If the women in the business had put up more of a fight, then there might be more expansive roles in the business, or more of a focus on interesting character driven female roles. The truth is, that many of the women in the business embrace the “sexy” and hence those are the roles that producers/directors think people want to see.

    • pru says:

      Absolutely, I do agree with Olivia’s point, but she now has to stop marketing herself as a ‘sexy’ actress if she truly want to broaden her prospective roles. No more sexy pictorials, soaking wet in a see- though shirt.

  23. Lindsey says:

    Rashida Jones, Amber Heard, Olivia Wilde?????

    LOLOLOLOL. They’re all mediocre actresses, at best.

  24. bobbisue says:

    Google her parents (who are film makers) talking to Charlie Rose. They are brilliant. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Her sister is a doctor. Her parents have been trying to change and ameliorate story telling through this medium for a long while. It’s in her blood.

    • TJ says:

      One correction: her sister is a civil rights lawyer.

      • bobbisue says:

        Yes, thank you. I interchange those two professions sometimes and realized I was thinking of her (Olivia) wearing the white doctor coat in House and superimposed that image onto her sister lol. At any rate, a sharp family.

  25. frisbeejada says:

    Interesting that posters are commenting how mediocre she is as an actress – BUT how many truly mediocre male actors have made a very good living in leading roles in the film industry? The rules are simply different, Women have to be superb actresses or have enormous charisma to get leading roles men don’t, they just have to be men. JMHO

  26. Nympha says:

    Some time ago I tried to understand what was in common with all of my favourite movies and I just couldn’t figure it out. Then suddenly I realized it was staring me in the face – all that films had women as leads or at least as half of the ensemble cast.
    So please Hollywood, open your eyes to that lots of interesting stories about women that I’m sure are all around us and do the right thing.

  27. sapphoandgrits says:

    She was terrific in “Drinking Buddies” and “Rush,” and she was good on “House” when she was allowed to be.

    This kinda proves her thesis, actually. She is a good actress when she is given a part that isn’t fluff aka “The Girlfriend.”

  28. Tiffany :) says:

    I recommend everyone read this piece by Geena Davis in the Hollywood Reporter. She is very wise!


    The basics are that for every one female-speaking character in family-rated films (G, PG and PG-13), there are roughly three male characters; that crowd and group scenes in these films — live-action and animated — contain only 17 percent female characters; and that the ratio of male-female characters has been exactly the same since 1946. Throw in the hypersexualization of many of the female characters that are there, even in G-rated movies, and their lack of occupations and aspirations and you get the picture.

    • Maureen says:

      There is a valid defense to be made on behalf of women in the acting business. Maybe the problem is that so many of the studio heads, producers, writers, and directors are male. I don’t know. I just started watching True Detective. I’m almost caught up to ep 5. Anyone seen this show? It’s on HBO and it’s really riveting and hard-boiled, though a bit try-hard. The writer is male, the director is male, and ALL the executive producers (there are, like, half a dozen) are male. The two main characters are male, and my God I’m not even a quote-un-quote “feminist” be even I have to raise an eyebrow not only at how MANY male characters are in this show, but more importantly how the few female characters are all wrecks except for one (and she’s being cheated on by her husband). One of the “lead” female characters is naked (full-frontal and all) LITERALLY in her second scene on the screen. Like, she’s introduced in one scene and then BOOM she’s undressing down to her “personal grooming station” if you know what I mean. The other side female characters are prostitutes, obese, and below the poverty line. Oh, and some of the side female characters are simply DEAD. See, the victims on this show are all female. And degraded in their murders (naked, raped, and marked). Yes, I think there’s a problem with how women are treated and portrayed in Hollywood. I just don’t happen to think men are solely at fault for it. But there is a problem. I’d like to know why shows/movies about women being raped, degraded, tortured, and murdered are so popular. That’s just for starters.

      • LadySlippers says:

        Dame Helen Mirren said pretty much the same thing recently — how disturbing it is that when women are in TV and film — it’s only used to increase the body count.

      • Sloane Wyatt says:

        @maureen, PATRIARCHY. I believe it suits Our Corporate Masters to divide and conquer like Observer alluded to another post. http://yourcorporatemasters.com/

        White Male Privilege must be maintained at all cost. Women, POC, and especially free thinkers like Olivia Wilde have been fighting for even positive representation let alone literal representation in TV, movies, and Media since the inception of Silent Films. Your Corporate Masters have an agenda and it does NOT include you or me.

    • Sloane Wyatt says:

      Geena Davis, Olympic Archer Goddess, rocks my world right ’round!

  29. Anastasia Beaverhausen says:

    Actresses have been saying this but she’s still right. And I think it’s sad that people are dismissing her speech and credibility because they think she’s a mediocre actress who’s just butt-hurt. Well no wonder nothing’s changing.

    • allheavens says:

      Yes this a thousand times!

      I noticed the staggering amount of sexism in these comments. Yes, sexism because the underlying theme is well she has sold herself as the sexy, beautiful girlfriend yada, yada, yada, she is NOT Meryl Steep therefore she can’t be that bright or that sincere and how dare she bring up an absolutely valid point about women in this industry.

      Sometimes we are our own worst enemy.

  30. Cooper says:

    Robin Wright’s Claire Underwood on House of Cards is clearly an example of what could happen when women’s roles are written properly. And still, no matter how powerful is Wright’s performance that sometimes outclasses Kevin Spacey’s, she gets less screen time. Even though she manages to be more compelling and interest character than showy Kevin Spacey. Excellent job, I hope she get’s the Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG next year.

  31. mytbean says:

    I agree with what she’s saying except -

    The people making movies do what the people with the most money tell them to do. Women do not run Hollywood. Male producers do.

    The movies Olivia sited had amazing box office pay-off as did the Resident Evil series (Mila Jovovich), Tomb Raider (Angelina Jolie), recently Hunger Games (Jennifer Lawrence). We could also look at the umpteen Disney films if we’re ok at cringing over the heavy cliche’. So it’s not that the audience isn’t voting for female leads.

    • TJ says:

      It’s a complex problem. Demand is one issue. Successful female directors are another. And yes women producers,in a big way. Also some male executives/producers/directors who want to help on women. Because without them the status quo will never change.

  32. tara says:

    Is it just me, or is she giving off some serious Jolie vibes here.