At this year’s Telluride Film Festival panel, discussion turned to the imbalance of female participation behind the big screen cameras, in particular on non-fiction projects. Amongst the likes of Meryl Streep and Rachel McAdams, Oscar nominated actor Michael Keaton contributed his thoughts on the topic and discussed his desire to see more female directors in Hollywood.
Keaton: “I just read this script and it’s kind of fun and interesting and it falls into a type of genre… there’s a relationship in it between a man and a woman and my first question was, not to be politically correct because you hire the best person, but is there a woman out here who can direct this? I had a gut feeling that a woman would have a cooler take on this.”
Keaton was present at the film event to promote his new film Spotlight, which explores the Boston Globe’s investigation and coverage of the Massachusetts Catholic sex abuse scandal. He plays the role of Walter ‘Robby’ Robinson, and stressed the importance of remaining true to the character of the person and not portraying a caricature. “I do think there’s something in the way people move and the tiny little physical things that they do as they really reflect something about them,” said Keaton, now sixty-four. “It’s really easy to be embarrassed by what you’ve done and be really inaccurate.”
Meryl Streep, who was present to promote her own historically-based film Suffragette, added to Keaton’s contribution. In the film she stars as Emmeline Pankhurst, a leader in the political movement that secured women the right to vote. “Women wanted the vote so that they can change their lives and now that we have it, we waste it,” Streep stated. “We don’t realise that we can still change our lives.” Although the events chronicled in the film took place almost a century ago, Streep was eager to emphasize the importance of film’s focusing on the struggles and triumphs of women, and how more needs to be made.
Keaton’s fellow Spotlight co-star Rachel McAdams agreed that films like Suffragette marked a good start that needs to be cultivated into a trend. “I feel like things are changing,” she said. “There’s an increase in conversation and that’s what I love about film”.
Suffragette is scheduled for release to British cinemas October 23rd and Spotlight is scheduled for January next year.