Stuntwomen will take center stage at a panel discussion and networking mixer to be held at Fox Studio on May 16. The panel, which comes in the wake of recent reports about “wigging” – the age-old practice of stuntmen donning wigs and women’s clothes to double for actresses – will address bias in the underemployment of women and people of color in the stunt industry.
“I recently signed on to direct my first action film and when I started looking into female stunt coordinators, I was alarmed by how few there were,” said director Alethea Jones, who will moderate the event. “I realized that I could advocate for women in stunts by appealing to the people who do the hiring – my directing peers, producers, and studios.”
“The push for gender parity needs to happen at all levels, both in front of and behind the camera,” said director Leah Meyerhoff, founder of Film Fatales, a group of female directors that advocates for gender parity in the film industry. “Film Fatales is proud to support the cause of women in the stunt industry and we hope that increased awareness leads to systemic change in hiring practices and beyond.”
Stuntwoman Deven MacNair, who sent the stunt industry into an uproar when she filed an EEOC complaint after witnessing a “wigging” incident on MGM’s The Domestics in 2016, will serve on the panel. She said, “I look forward to educating producers and directors on how women and people of color are missing out on the biggest part of stunt work, which seems to disproportionately go to men and continues a cycle where women are denied the opportunities to advance in their careers.”
Panelist Evangeline Lilly, who stars as the Wasp in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp, said that “As a female actor whose bread and butter are roles that involve action, it is obvious to me that a woman has her own strength. She doesn’t need to copy the physicality, attitude or sensibility of men to show dynamism and power. I hope this event can help make it obvious to everyone.”
Other panelists include director Ramaa Mosley and stuntwomen Ingrid Kleinig, Janeshia Adams-Ginyard and Sharon Schaffer. The event is co-sponsored by Film Fatales; Women@21CF, an employee-led network and resource group at 21st Century Fox; and Fox Vets, an employee-led network and resource group at the studio whose mission is to develop female leadership and foster a culture of inclusion.