A Starz TCA panel comprised of the network’s leading actresses and series creators tackled the question whether life on set is getting better post #MeToo. And while many acknowledge that indeed it is, “It’s the tiny moments” per American Gods thespian Emily Browning that’s still creating confusion.
“I’m sure all of us have a nightmare we heard or experienced, but now there is a space for us to be able to tell those stories. There are certain things I don’t think people can get away with anymore. What’s still kind of evolving, and they’re not nightmare stories — it’s the tiny moments. Things that are a little bit ambiguous where a woman automatically feels like ‘Did that just happen to me or am I just being sensitive? Do I bring this story forward? Is it believable or does something worse need to happen?'” explained Browning.
“That’s where it’s tricky,” said the Sucker Punch actress, “the tiny moments where we question our sanity.”
Browning’s insight followed on the heels of an experience that Vida creator Tanya Saracho shared: Five years ago during her first TV writing gig, she was informed by a male colleague that she was “the diversity hire” in the writers’ room. It was an insult, that made Saracho question whether she was in the writers’ room for her talents or to fulfill a quota. Her agent informed her after-the-fact that she was a quota hire.
That remark “carried through the whole ten months” said Saracho, “that show was filled with those micro-aggressions.”
“I think it still happens,” said Outlander EP Maril Davis regarding ‘nightmare’ incidents that females come up against on set, “fortunately to work on our show, we have an even power base. The first season we made sure that the writers’ room was 50/50. I think that pendulum still needs to swing toward the female side, but I feel the balance is always necessary because there’s so many viewpoints.”
Sweetbitter star Ella Purnell gave a shout out to her series’ female assistant directors who make all the difference for her during production. Browning applauded their presence on her set as well, “especially when you’re shooting a sex scene.”
Today’s Starz Fiercely Female Panel also included Outlander star Caitriona Balfe, Power‘s La La Anthony, Sweetbitter creator Stephanie Danler, American Gods’ actress Yetide Badaki, and Vida stars Melissa Barrera and Mishel Prada.