ByTom Chapman, writer at
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Tom Chapman

Uh oh, here come the drums of controversy once again, and it looks like one woman you sure don't piss off is Rita Repulsa, a.k.a. . The Power Rangers and Pitch Perfect star has taken to her soapbox to call out acclaimed director for the lack of female leads in his films. Quite where the argument has come from is unknown, but Banks is definitely not a happy lady.

Girls On Film

Speaking at the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards, Banks accepted one of the highest honors and the Crystal Award for excellence in features. The Wrap reports that with a bee in her bonnet, the actress used her acceptance speech to call out Spielberg in front of the bemused audience.

“I went to Indiana Jones and Jaws and every movie Steven Spielberg ever made, and by the way, he’s never made a movie with a female lead. Sorry, Steven. I don’t mean to call your ass out but it’s true.”

Imploring the audience to take their children to see female-centric films to teach them about gender equality, she went on to say that her sons are shown films with strong women like Frozen.

While there is definitely a lot of merit to what Banks is saying, it does seem slightly unfair to single out Spielberg in particular — maybe he didn't cast her instead of Julianne Moore in The Lost World? Looking back over the director's long tenure, there are a couple of examples of him putting women first — arguably not many, but he hasn't "never" had a woman lead.

Spielberg has around 30 feature films under his belt, and the audience was quick to point out to Banks that some have had female actresses at the forefront. In fact, his second film The Sugarland Express had Goldie Hawn in a starring role. Unfortunately, we then had to wait nine years until Whoopi Goldberg ruled The Color Purple, and then some 32 years until Ruby Barnhill played Sophie in the BFG — even then, you could argue the titular giant is the lead.

Who's To Blame?

This isn't the first time Spielberg has been called out on his "men-only" films though. Only last year, Juliette Binoche went on a tirade at both Spielberg and Martin Scorsese for the their testosterone-packed films. Binoche even went on to say that this was the reason she had turned down a role in Jurassic Park.

Admittedly, having 3/30 ain't that great, but is it really a reflection on Spielberg as a director? It is a well known fact that the problem lies with the industry as a whole, rather than one specific person. Thankfully, the tides are changing, and only this year we have seen Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot pull back the superhero genre from the grip of men. Also, there are just months to go until Daisy Ridley will once again (hopefully) lead Star Wars to greatness.

Perhaps Spielberg just isn't that comfortable crafting roles for women. Sure, his women always play second fiddle, and he did give us the violently irritating Willie Scott in the Temple of Doom, but where would Jurassic Park be without Ellie Sattler, or Raiders of the Lost Ark without Marion Ravenwood? Spielberg's films have moved on somewhat without him though; Colin Trevorrow directed Jurassic World, and it is a close call on whether that film is lead by Bryce Dallas Howard or Chris Pratt.

Also, what's the beef with Stevie? Other stellar directors like Christopher Nolan almost always put men first — with The Prestige, Memento, The Dark Knight trilogy. Perhaps it was Spielberg's role in moulding so many people's childhoods, but it seems a little harsh to go for his jugular. So, what parting advice does Ms. Banks have for us all?

“Buy a fucking ticket to a movie with a woman, take them, give them the experience of seeing amazing women on film.”

Don't worry, Elizabeth, if the box office takings of Wonder Woman are anything to go by, more than enough people are taking their children to go see women in cinema. Hopefully this is just another small step in fair representation in film, but with Banks at the helm of the Pitch Perfect series and taking on the Charlie's Angels reboot, there are sure to be plenty of parts coming the way of Hollywood actresses if she has anything to do with it.

Check out the finale of Pitch Perfect 2 and don't forget our poll below!


Is Elizabeth Banks right to call out Steven Spielberg?

(Source: The Wrap)


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