Reese Witherspoon. AFP PHOTO
Reese Witherspoon, fed up with Hollywood gender bias, is calling for an end to the practice of handing excellent actresses only “thankless roles.”
“I’ve just had enough. Things have to change,” Witherspoon said Saturday during a press event in Pasadena, California.
“We have to start seeing women as they really are on film. We have to. And not just in movie theaters on a tiny budget.”
The new HBO series “Big Little Lies”, in which she stars alongside Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley and Laura Dern, is directed by Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallee.
“We need to see real women’s experience, whether it involves domestic violence, whether it involves sexual assault, whether it involves motherhood or romance or infidelity or divorce,” said Witherspoon, 40.
Hollywood is regularly faulted for failing to give substantial roles to women, especially those older than 35.
In a 2016 report, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) warned that women’s place in the American film industry was slipping.
It said women were underrepresented, saw no employment gains in Hollywood compared to their male counterparts, and suffered losses in eight of 11 job arenas examined while struggling in the other three.
The highly anticipated “Big Little Lies,” whose script based on Liane Moriarty’s eponymous novel was written by David E. Kelley (“Ally McBeal” and “Goliath”), marks Witherspoon’s first major role in a TV production. It airs starting February 19.
Witherspoon, winner of an Oscar for her role in Johnny Cash biopic “Walk the Line,” is also a producer. She has focused on films with women in the lead role, such as “Gone Girl.”
She recalled having often been the only woman on set for years.
“It’s very rare to find five roles in one piece that we’d all jump at a chance to play,” agreed Kidman.