This Actress Says Working With Women Is ”Heaven”

Photo: Matt Baron/BEI/REX Shutterstock.
While on set for her upcoming film The Zookeeper’s Wife, Jessica Chastain shared keen observations on the importance of women banding together in the film industry. In a new essay, she asserted that the right approach to solving the inequality problems in Hollywood is to focus on the positive experience of moviemaking with other women. For Chastain, working with a sizable number of women on her latest movie has been better than good; it's "been heaven," the actress told The Hollywood Reporter. The film boasts a crew full of women: director Niki Caro (Whale Rider, North Country), three producers (Diane Levin, Kim Zubick and Katie McNeill), a screenwriter (Angela Workman), a camera operator (Rachael Levine), a stunt coordinator (Antje “Angie” Rau) and its protagonist (Jessica Chastain — duh.) That may seem like a lot, but 80% of the set is still male, Chastain said. More often in Hollywood, only two or three out of the 100 people working on a movie would be women. Having a strong female presence was not only a move toward gender equality, but was also beneficial to the experience as a whole, according to Chastain. “We all hang out all the time — there are no strange power plays or egos. We know how rare making this kind of film is,” Chastain shared. “We're giddy with happiness.” Chastain has talked about the gender gap in Hollywood before, an issue brought into the spotlight this year by Jennifer Lawrence and many others. But here, Chastain highlighted all of the women involved in a movie, from the director to the a stunt double, not just the leading ladies. The question is, if working with other women is so heavenly, why doesn’t it happen more often? “I don’t think the problem is women; it’s the representation,” Chastain said. “It goes to the agents. It has to change. This is 2015.” Opener image: Andrew H. Walker/Variety/REX Shutterstock.

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