Elizabeth Banks Clarifies Comments On Steven Spielberg's Lack Of Female Leads

Photo: Carl Timpone/Shutterstock/REX.
Today, Elizabeth Banks addressed the inaccuracies in her statement at the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards. Banks posted the statement to Twitter, addressing the mistakes that she made, saying that she had framed her claims regarding Steven Spielberg incorrectly.
"I want to be clear from the start that I take full responsibility for what I said and I'm sorry," Banks wrote. She continued, pointing out that she had disregarded Spielberg's work on The Color Purple.
Additionally, Banks apologized for what some saw as her dismissal of Shari Belafonte's attempt to correct her. "I spoke with Shari backstage and she was kind enough to forgive me," Banks wrote.
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She closes the statement with another apology, showing that everyone — Hollywood celebrities included — can make mistakes when they're full of passion. Banks' sincere and heartfelt apology shows just how strongly she feels about the portrayal of women in the film industry and the lack of opportunities available for them.
This article was originally published on June 14, 2017.
Elizabeth Banks took home the Crystal Award at the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards, which honors work on feature films. During her acceptance speech, Banks told those in attendance to take their kids to films with strong female roles or with women at the center of the story. According to Vulture, however, she had one more thing to say. At the podium, Banks claimed that Steven Spielberg, one of the industry's most beloved directors and one of the most popular filmmakers of all time, hasn't ever made a movie with a female lead.
"I went to Indiana Jones and Jaws and every movie Steven Spielberg ever made, and by the way, he’s never made a movie with a female lead," Banks said during her speech. "Sorry, Steven. I don't mean to call your ass out, but it's true."
It doesn't take more than a cursory look at the current state of Hollywood to see that women aren't given that many opportunities with leading roles. But Vulture points out that Banks isn't 100% accurate in her statement. Since his first foray into film, Spielberg has directed 30 features. His second, The Sugarland Express (1974), starred Goldie Hawn. After that, in 1985, he directed The Color Purple. Fast-forward 32 years for the next instance of Spielberg making a film with a female lead: The BFG (2016), which, sure, may not even count. In that case, Vulture offers the upcoming Meryl Streep film, The Papers. That would mark a 32-year gap for Spielberg releasing a film starring a grown woman in the lead role.
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Why focus on Spielberg's less-than-stellar track record with the ladies? His prominent place in Hollywood makes him a good barometer for the industry. Plus, he's arguably the heaviest hitter when it comes to reaching a wide audience at theaters. If someone with that sort of industry clout isn't changing his M.O. after three decades, it's easy to see why studio execs are so wary of putting women in lead roles.
Banks' heart is in the right place. So here's hoping that Spielberg and the rest of Hollywood take her advice. After all, a recent superhero flick showed that audiences are more than willing to see leading ladies.
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