It seems that Jurassic World – and future Star Wars: Episode IX – helmer Colin Trevorrow has caused a bit of controversy on Twitter with his comments about gender imbalance with regards to the opportunities afford to both male and female directors in Hollywood.
Asked about the criticism that studios are offering untested male directors huge opportunities with big budget blockbusters but not female filmmakers, Trevorrow responded that:
“Obviously it’s very lopsided, and hopefully it’s going to change as time goes on. But it hurts my feelings when I’m used as an example of white, male privilege. I know many of the female filmmakers who are being referred to in these articles. These women are being offered these kinds of movies, but they’re choosing not to make them. I think it makes [female directors] seem like victims to suggest that they’re not getting the opportunities and not artists who know very clearly what kind of stories they want to tell and what films they want to make. To me, that’s the reality.”
Asked whether he believed he would have been offered Jurassic World were he female, Trevorrow added: “I want to believe that a filmmaker with both the desire and ability to make a studio blockbuster will be given an opportunity to make their case. I stress desire because I honestly think that’s a part of the issue… To me this is not a simple case of exclusion within an impenetrable corporate system. It’s complex, and it involves a component that I think is rarely discussed – very high levels of artistic and creative integrity among female directors.”
After coming under fire for his comments, Trevorrow then went on to issue a detailed statement to SlashFilm in response:
The last thing I’d want to communicate is that I don’t acknowledge this problem exists. I think the problem is glaring and obvious. And while it does make me a little uncomfortable to be held up as an example of everything that’s wrong, this is an important dialogue to have, so let’s have it.
Would I have been chosen to direct Jurassic World if I was a female filmmaker who had made one small film? I have no idea. I’d like to think that choice was based on the kind of story I told and the way I chose to tell it. But of course it’s not that simple. There are centuries-old biases at work at every level, within all of us. And yes, it makes me feel shitty to be perceived as part of this problem, because it’s an issue that matters so much to me. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t talk about it in the first place.
I do stand by the idea that a great many people in the film industry want this to change. I have made attempts at every turn to help turn the tide, and I will continue to do it. When I got the script for Lucky Them, released last year, I advocated hard for my friend Megan Griffiths to direct. She did, and she made a wonderful film (see it please). On my next project, Book of Henry, nearly all of my department heads and producers are women. Will I give a female filmmaker the same chance Steven Spielberg gave me someday? Let’s hope that when I do, it won’t even be noteworthy. It will be the status quo.
I came home from New York tonight and saw my daughter again after a week away. This had come up earlier in the day, so it was on my mind. I did think a lot about how vital it is for me to empower her now, even at age 3. To encourage her to go out and grab whatever it is she wants in life, to lead. It starts with the constant, steady assurance that the top job is attainable.
Becoming a filmmaker is not easy. It’s years of rejection and disappointment and it’s very hard, often grueling work. The job takes insane levels of endurance and sometimes delusional amounts of self-confidence. All I can do is raise one girl with that kind of fearlessness, then let her choose her path. That’s my contribution. The rest is up to her.
What do you make of Trevorrow’s comments? Let us know your thoughts below…