Whether or not you've seen Courtney Hoffman's first movie, you've likely seen her costumes. Hoffman is the renowned costume designer behind Baby Driver, The Hateful Eight, and Captain Fantastic. Now, Hoffman is gearing up to make her full-length directorial debut and it's a very big deal. Not just for her, but women filmmakers everywhere.
Hoffman's first movie was the Shatterbox Anthology project, The Good Time Girls, a short film starring Laura Dern that redefined the Western genre for women. According to Deadline, Hoffman is now stepping back behind the camera for Ruthless, an action thriller about a female assassin who comes out of retirement after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. "She must return to the life she left behind," the logline of film, which has been compared to John Wick and Charlize Theron's Atomic Blonde, explains. "And complete one final job in order to secure a future for her young daughter."
While all of that sounds pretty damn cool, what's even cooler is that Hoffman, who spent 10 years as a costume designer, is the one helming it. It's not often that a new female director gets a chance to take the lead on an action film. Something that wasn't lost on Hoffman, who excitedly shared the news of her next project on Instagram with a joke: "I washed underwear to get to here!"
Hoffman then got a bit more serious, thanking director Steven Spielberg, who founded the production company Amblin Entertainment, which is producing the film, and every other person "who has believed in me on this wild ride. We may not live in a Hillary Clinton world, but we're cracking that glass ceiling!!!"
Hoffman's hiring is a step in the right direction. Call it the Wonder Woman effect since the success of that superhero film, directed by Patty Jenkins, has given women more opportunities behind the camera. A very good thing, since women accounted for only 13% of the directors on the 700 top grossing films in 2014 — and only 7% of the top 250 films.
It was just announced that Jenkins will direct Wonder Woman 2 and become the highest paid female director ever, which may or may not be a good thing for the gender wage gap. Of course, Jenkin's success is certainly a good thing for any female filmmakers like Hoffman who want to make good movies in whatever genre they please.
In an interview with Refinery29 in August, Hoffman talked about being accepted into AFI Women's Directing Workshop, which is a tuition-free program for budding female filmmakers "that's harder to get into than Harvard." It was being surrounded by all those women that finally convinced her she wasn't just a costume designer, but a filmmaker.
"I felt like I needed a safe place, as a working professional, to be in an environment where I could explore this other idea I had," she said. "And, ultimately, [the workshop] was the place that gave me the confidence to say, 'I am 100% born to be a director.'"
We're 100% excited to see Hoffman's new film.
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