Yes, I’m continuing to post about women and the movie biz, a topic that right now is red hot in Hollywood. Today, Salon presents a fuller version of the chat in the new Elle magazine (the same issue that interviews me) that touches on the very issues raised by my Robinov story. Moderated by Lynda Obst, the power panelists were Universal president of production Donna Langley as well as a bevy of female producers, writers and/or directors: Nora Ephron, Laura Ziskin, Callie Khouri, Patty Jenkins, Cathy Konrad, Kimberly Piece, Andrea Berloff, and Margaret Nagle. Some of my favorite lines from their panel discussion:
Khouri: And yet, still, the good news is that whenever the annual meeting at the Directors Guild takes place, there’s never a line for the women’s bathroom.
Nagle: I’ll never forget, I was working with this producer, and his kid would have an ear infection and he’d leave the meeting, and everybody would go, “Oh, God, he’s so great.” And I went, “If I took that call and left this meeting because my kid had an ear infection, I’d be fucking vilified.” It would be over. There would be a call to my agent. I remember just thinking, “You’re probably going to see your mistress. You’re not going to the kid with the ear infection.”
Ephron: Every so often when I speak at film schools, and I’m at a table with a group of almost entirely timid women. I ask them what they want to do, and they timidly tell me that they want to be directors. And the one thing I know is that if you want to direct a movie, you have to be possessed. You have to be insane. And that’s to direct your first movie. You have to be out of your mind to get the second or the third or the fourth. And it doesn’t get any easier for anybody but Steven Spielberg.
Ziskin: I want to say one thing. What is extraordinary is that the movies are arguably the most powerful medium ever in history so far. And there are so many of us that you could get a quorum at this table. You don’t have to have the intention of influencing your work by your gender, but you’re going to. That’s a really good thing. It’s really good for the culture that women are a real voice more and more, even though we’re not the final say, like those guys who really control all the media in the world. We’re still influencing. We can take the Spider-Man movies as an example. Kirsten [Dunst] and I used to joke about it, but as the women in the mix we really influenced the content of lots of things in that movie because we were in there saying, “Wait a minute.” [Had we not been there], it would still have been as successful, but it would have been different.