EXCLUSIVE: One of the sad facts this past Oscars is that only five women have ever been nominated for Best Director since 1929 and only one has won, Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. Of course, no one can win if they are not given the opportunity to be in the position to. In light of the this and the Time’s Up movement that has been gaining real ground, Deadline has been looking at each studio to see how many female directors they have in their employ. Today we look at Lionsgate where they have three projects on its 2018 slate (out of about 20) with two more in development.
It’s worth mentioning on what is International Women’s Day today that Lionsgate recently partnered with ReFrame, which is an initiative that focuses on hiring more women in film and TV started by Women in Film and the Sundance Institute which provides a 14-point Culture Change Toolkit that will help with more balanced hiring in all areas.
Here’s what Lionsgate has going right now with three female-directed projects releasing in 2018 (they hired the second two; Good Universe hired the first):
First up is Kay Cannon, the writer of the Pitch Perfect series who landed her directorial debut with the comedy Blockers. The film is co-produced by what is now Lionsgate’s Good Universe. The film, which stars Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, and John Cena, is being released by Universal Pictures on April 6th.
The story, written by brothers Brian and Jim Kehoe, Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg and Eben Russell, is about three parents who stumble upon their daughters’ pact to lose their virginity at prom and launch a covert one-night operation to stop the teens from sealing the deal. It was produced by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver, under their Point Grey Pictures banner with Hurwitz and Schlossberg and DMG Entertainment’s Chris Fenton.
Next is the Susanna Fogel-directed comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me which bows in theaters on August 3rd. The film is also a female-driven story about Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon) who are best friends that unwittingly become entangled in an international conspiracy when one of the women discovers the boyfriend who dumped her is actually a spy. Also starring is Justin Theroux, Sam Heughan, Gillian Anderson, Hasan Minhaj and Ivanna Sakhno. The film was also written by Fogel with David Iserson (Lionsgate’s Mad Men); it is co-produced by Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer and Erica Huggins.
Lastly on the 2018 slate is The Honor List being directed by Elissa Down for their Studio L digital studio and marks debut release of newly-launched PopSugar Films. The film is a coming-of-age, female-driven drama that stars Meghan Rienks, Sasha Pieterse, Karrueche Tran, and Arden Cho. The film is produced by Zoe, Cisely and Mariel Saldana’s Cinestar Pictures, written by Marilyn Fu.
Gotta give them all props as 60% of the crew members were women. It bows on May 11.
In development comes Miller’s Girl from writer/director Jade Bartlett, also a coming-of-age drama. This one is being produced by Lionsgate’s Good Universe in partnership with Point Grey again. The film is a about a talented young writer who becomes involved with her high school creative writing teacher. It examines the blurred lines of emotional connectivity between professor and protégé.
Lastly, Cheryl Dunye is adapting the New York Times bestselling novel from Jason Mott The Wonder of All Things and will also direct. The film will follow the book in telling the story of two 13-year old best friends, Ava and Wash, who are trapped under the rubbles of an airplane crash. As Ava is trying to help her injured friend, she places her hand over Wash’s wound and discovers the her unusual gift of healing.