April 14, 2008

The NY Times Sunday Arts and Leisure Section Illuminates the Sexist Nature of Hollywood

I used to looove reading the Sunday Arts & Leisure section. But the last couple of years the section has been boring me and most of the pieces have been skipable. To my surprise this past Sunday there were several very interesting pieces worthy of a read. However, I noticed that there was a common theme to the pieces that covered women in the section...It's hard to be a woman in the biz.

And then to make matters worse there's the "guy becomes a star" story on Jason Segel the co-writer and star of the new Judd Apatow produced comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall that is opening this coming weekend with one of the most misogynistic stealth ad campaigns I have ever seen (read: Marketing Judd Apatow's New Movie). Life for Jason is great and getting even better (he just bought a new house so close to the Chateau Marmont that he can get room service delivered), while Helen Hunt, an experienced actress who had directed episodes of Mad About You had to toil for ten years to get her script made for Then She Found Me which opens April 25. The two articles appeared on the same page and I just had to laugh when looking at the different trajectories of men and women working in the film business.

From a Young Actor With Nothing to Hide

advice from Judd Apatow: "As Mr. Segel recalled, “He said to me: ‘You’re kind of a weird dude. The only way you’re going to make it is if you start writing your own material.’ ”
And despite his regular appearances on prime-time television, it is only in the prelude to the release of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” that he has found he can now take meetings with the studios, production companies and casting directors who previously shunned him.

In one such meeting, with Disney, he offhandedly mentioned that he would like to write a new movie for his childhood idols, the Muppets; within days the studio had signed Mr. Segel and Mr. Stoller to write the script.
A Young Actor With Nothing to Hide (NY Times)

Compare with these quotes from What She Wants To Do...
It was every version of no I’ve ever imagined. “No, we’re not going to make it because we can’t sell it.” “No, we’re not going to make it because it’s about a woman who is 40.”

I lived my whole life wanting to have a baby — and I got to have a baby. I suddenly
wasn’t offered parts that were worth walking away from the most compelling thing I’d ever been involved with, which was my family. It was nervous-making along the way to not be drowning in offers for big movies. But maybe running off and pretending to be this one’s girlfriend or that one’s wife isn’t what I want to do with my life. Maybe my dirty little secret is this is the life I’d been wanting.
What She Really Wants to Do Is ... (NY Times)

It's so nice to be a young guy in Hollywood and to know Judd Apatow. How about we all agree to skip Forgetting Sarah Marshall and go see Then She Found Me which opens on April 25.

Two other great stories were on Faith Prince's return to Broadway: Broadway’s Cookie, Un-Sugarcoated and A First Timer Makes Rhett and Scarlett Sing about how Margaret Martin went from being homeless with two kids to writing a musical. What a fantastic story. A woman with no theatrical experience getting the permission from the Margaret Mitchell estate to take a shot at the musical. Amazing.

Key quote about Faith Prince:
Only a few women at any one time have the name recognition, the vocal placement and the deep confidence in their own stage-worthiness to shoulder a Broadway musical. Because viable roles for even so small a number are rare, each member of the diva guild tends to develop a brand. In recent years there have been perhaps six: call them the sweetheart, the steamroller, the ditz, the doll, the thrush and the cookie — that last one Ms. Prince.
Broadway’s Cookie, Un-Sugarcoated (NY Times)

Key Quotes from the Margaret Martin piece:
When her marriage collapsed after the birth of her second child, Ms. Martin said, she was homeless with two children in Los Angeles for a year, sleeping on the floor of an office. “For me the feminization of poverty is not a theoretical construct,” she said.

“Most people stop themselves more than anything in the world stops them,” she said. “Imagination depends on the capacity to give yourself permission.”
A First-Timer Makes Rhett and Scarlett Sing (NY Times)