Entertainment

Film director Paul Feig says he supports moves toward gender parity

The director of Bridesmaids, Spy and the upcoming Ghostbusters remake says he would add an equity clause to his future film contracts that requires gender-balanced casting of minor roles.

Women play the lead in just 1 in 5 films, according to study

Director Paul Feig, seen here at a Ghostbusters Fan Event in Culver City, Calif., in March, says he would add an equity clause to his future film contracts that requires gender-balanced casting of minor roles. (Rich Polk/Getty Images for Sony Pictures Entertainment)

The director of BridesmaidsSpy and the upcoming Ghostbusters remake says he would add an equity clause to his future film contracts that requires gender-balanced casting of minor roles.

Paul Feig said he supports such efforts to push the movie business toward gender parity.

"I think we need to set these things in stone so it forces everybody to think that way," he told The Associated Press.

Feig was part of a panel discussion Wednesday night at the actors' union Los Angeles headquarters about Hollywood's gender bias. The talk with actress Maria Bello, directors Caroline Suh and Tina Mabry and University of Southern California professor Stacy L. Smith followed a screening of the documentary The 4%: Film's Gender Problem.

The film's title refers to the number of top movies directed by women over the past dozen years.

Actress and filmmaker Julie Delpy appears in the original documentary series The 4%: Film's Gender Problem. The series spotlights directors and creative personalities - both women and men - who share first-person insights, questions and anecdotes about the role of women in Hollywood. (Andre Costanini/EPIX via AP)

Research shows women are half of film-school students and movie ticket buyers, not to mention the human population, yet play the lead in just one in five films and are outnumbered by male directors 23 to one.

Smith, whose studies on gender and Hollywood informed the documentary, suggested that A-list stars consider an equity clause in their contracts so that some movies might reflect real-world demography. Her research found that women represented 30 per cent of speaking roles in the films of 2014.

Bello said she is part of an effort to develop a "gender parity stamp" to recognize productions that are actively increasing opportunities for women on both sides of the camera.

The documentary, directed by Suh and available on-demand on EPIX, includes interviews with such filmmakers as Catherine Hardwicke, Lake Bell, Anjelica Huston and Julie Delpy, who says: "The next Kubrick, in no one's mind, is a woman."

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