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Paramount 'Needed Convincing' to Hire a First-Time Male Director on 'Star Trek 3', So Here's Some Female Alternatives.

by /bent
May 9, 2014 1:06 PM
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Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Roberto Orci is the frontrunner to be hired to direct the forthcoming "Star Trek 3" - yes, we're getting another sequel. Orci has a vast resume as a writer and a producer, on the Star Trek films and various other big, noisy blockbusters, but he's never directed anything. Ever.

First-time feature directors have taken on huge blockbusters in the past, but they've usually come from the world of directing commercials or music videos (Rupert Sanders and "Snow White and the Huntsman" being a recent example). The latest case of a first-time feature director coming at a $100 million + project with zero directing experience is Wally Pfister on "Transcendence". And look how that worked out.

Needless to say, this only ever happens with male directors. Women directors just don't get hired for projects like this. But it's not too late! According to Deadline, "Paramount needed convincing" over Orci's credentials, although they concede "now it all could happen at warp speed". But since the deal has not been made official yet, we'd like to suggest that Paramount don't ignore their cold feet, and consider that just maybe, the risk of hiring a totally untested director on such a huge project is greater than the risk of hiring - gasp! - a woman with a track record.

There are dozens of women out there with the proven directorial experience to take on a project like this. Jamie Babbit has a superlative TV resume, as does Michelle MacLaren. Mimi Leder has been there and done that. Isabel Coixet could be the female Guillermo del Toro if given a chance. Lexi Alexander has proven she has the chops. Or what about an indie director like Tamara Jenkins, or Mary Harron, or Dee Rees, or Lone Scherfig, or... the list goes on and on and on. Of course, some of these women may scoff at the very idea of directing "Star Trek 3", and more power to them if so. But the point is that studios' willingness to take punts on totally unproven male directors, while continuing to ignore their female counterparts, is looking more and more ridiculous.

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  • FP | May 16, 2014 9:54 AMReply


    Via Ted Hope, for emphasis.

  • thetrekkie | May 12, 2014 7:23 PMReply

    The next movie is supposed to be for the 50th anniversary of the franchise. Handing the reigns of such an important event over to someone who has shown contempt for the fans and the franchise is a huge mistake. There is already a hashtag on twitter regarding his involvement: #StopOrci2014.

    All of the extras for STID were split up on different releases, making it impossible to buy a single release from a single retailed with all of the extra material. The only reason they were able to do that is because of the loyalty of the fanbase. Will the fanbase show the same loyalty to the man who called Trekkies sh*tty and told us to f*ck off? I don't think so.
    STID underperformed domestically, and actually had a smaller opening weekend in terms of tickets sold than its predecessor. Part of the reason it made as much money as it did was because of the IMAX 3D charges.

    Can Paramount afford to make the same mistake with the next movie? Maybe, if they're content for nuTrek to be a trilogy and only that. It doesn't seem like a good decision to hand over such an important franchise to a novice who doesn't seem to understand the appeal of Star Trek.

  • Melody | May 12, 2014 6:58 PMReply

    Orci is more interested in making a successful movie than making a good star trek movie, we need someone who respects the fans and the nearly 50 years of the show that he's building on. Star Trek fans are already less than satisfied with his work on writing the reboot films, so I don't think it would be a good move to have him direct too, especially since he's never directed anything before

  • Amanda | May 12, 2014 5:22 PMReply

    Letting Orci direct is a mistake. Star Trek fans are already angry about the reboot movies, and Orci doesn't care about Trekkies' concerns. Paramount is risking loosing a large amount of money on the next movie if they go with him. Honestly, I'd feel a little better if they got former Star Trek actors-turn directors to direct.

  • Izzy | May 12, 2014 4:54 PMReply

    It might be a commentary on J.J. & Co.'s failure to produce quality in the reboot series so far that they're willing to hire Mr. Orci rather than an actual, factual, seasoned director - it might just be that no one wants to put their name on this crashing, burning & falling-out-of-the-sky enterprise... All that being said, and having seen J.J.'s, Orci's, and by extension Paramount's attitude regarding the reboot projects so far, there's little doubt in my mind that these are the kind of dusty & bigoted Hollywood types that would rather bring First-Time Bob on as director, rather than a female ready and better suited by miles to take on the roll. The only thing I'm certain of is that if I don't start seeing more of an effort to bring in new talent to the directing roll soon, they won't be seeing a cent of this female Trekkie's prospective ticket money.

  • Not Tom | May 12, 2014 10:23 AMReply

    Pardon my factual ignorance, but to combat Tom's attitudinal ignorance, can someone please elaborate the credits to the women directors listed here that point them in the direction of being able to take this on? Clearly as writer/producer involved in the last 2 ST movies he has some relevance, but as director? C'mon! Let him be the AD to a woman (or anyone) who has actually directed before! It's not rocket science! So to shut up people like Tom, can anyone who knows the careers of Jamie Babbit, Michelle MacLaren, Mimi Leder, Isabel Coixet, Lexi Alexander, Tamara Jenkins, Mary Harron, Dee Rees, Lone Scherfig etc. list which pictures they have directed that contain some of the same elements (SciFi, large budget, multi-picture narrative, passionate fanbase) that make this argument a no-brainer?

  • FP | May 15, 2014 1:40 PM

    Admitting your age and experience should embarrass the hell out of you, considering how immature and/or ancient you have sounded.

    Admitting you work for a studio completely underscores my assumptii assumption you've never marshalled a crew or undertaken a creative endeavor in your life because you're just a phone jockey in an office, and why men like Orci get to fail upwards. Thank you for proving us out, since you're obviously part of the problem for women in Hollywood.

  • Tom | May 15, 2014 7:17 AM

    Wow the anger. Shocking.

    FYI I'm 40 years old with fifteen years in the industry most of which has been spent in the studio system, and I don't watch porn (or Star Trek for that matter).

    Please continue...

  • FP | May 14, 2014 10:08 AM

    Jamie Babbit has more directing credits in her 15-20 years in this BUSINESS than Robert Orci will likely ever have. She has mapped out more performances, told many DPs where to put the camera, dealt with more location and weather and crew challenges, and solved more problems on a set in those DECADES doing her job than the mute screenwriter whose job it is to ruin smart films and make them more palatable to the idiots of the world (THE ISLAND, TRANSFORMERS, COWBOYS & ALIENS, etc etc etc), who takes "producer" credits because he's a member of the Bad Robot klan.

    Tom, you betray yourself as nothing more than some young fanboy who has never marshalled a crew or creative endeavor in your life by being determined to denigrate the hard work that women like Jamie Babbit have done for years because you think the men who wrote in a sexist scene in STID where Alice Eve was nearly naked so it could be in the trailer are the ones who should be in charge of making those same stupid, tired, sexist, bullshit decisions again. Go back to staring at boobs on YouPorn and leave the discussion of BUSINESS to the adults who have the experience that you don't. Your trolling idiocy reveals how dumb and sexist you truly are. Run along, your frat is waiting for you to go rape something.

  • Tom | May 13, 2014 11:21 AM

    Are you seriously saying that people like Jamie Babbit, who is a great TV director but from what I can see on IMDB has only directed movies with titles like "Itty Bitty Titty Committee" be given the reigns of the forthcoming Star Trek blockbuster simply because she is female?

    Or maybe you are confusing the size of the "passionate fanbase" who follow Ugly Betty with the 50 year old franchise that is Star Trek.

    How much money has she earned the studios in any of her previous work?

    So many people in this industry forget that it is the Movie Business, with the emphasis on BUSINESS.

    Yes it is an outlet for creativity and storytelling, but it is also about putting bums on seats, selling DVD's/VOD's and associated merchandise.

    The studios will ALWAYS go with someone who has made them vast amounts of money in some capacity, over someone who has not.

  • FP | May 12, 2014 12:43 PM

    Not only is your inability to use IMDB to do that research yourself worthy of a head shake, so is the idea that these women need to have sci-fi/large budget/multi-picture narrative/passionate fanbase experience. Did Marc Webb when he took on AMAZING SPIDERMAN? Christopher Nolan with the DARK KNIGHT films? Colin Treverrow with the JURASSIC films? Jon Favreau with IRON MAN? The Russos with CAP AMERICA 2?

    When you go do your IMDB research on these men and women, ask yourself why a woman needs appropriate background, but none of those men did? Or, how women should be expected to gain it if never offered it? Or, why are there these scoffing responses below, that women are being hysterical and should take a breath, when pointing this inequality out?

  • StephenT | May 12, 2014 8:42 AMReply

    Wow, this @Tom fellow took an article about unintentional sexism or unconscious sexism and really ratcheted it up with statements like "So women, if you want bigger roles in Hollywood, embrace the technology" and "Women must earn their right to direct large scale blockbuster movies, not just be given the jobs because of their gender." FWIW, Tom, directing is about storytelling, first and foremost, and dealing with people, not technologies. A director need not be a cinematographer, actor, writer, set designer, composer, costumer designer, editor, CGI artist etc. to interact with these departments and the people in them. Also, no one, not the author of this piece nor the @FP demanded that a woman direct this movie. They simply pointed out the implicit sexism in most-likely giving this huge job to someone with no directing experience. Your comments and those by @Ryan like "Also, Paramount's gonna do what Paramount's gonna do. Hollywood is still a boys club; the only way to change this, and if we're arguing women need to be hired for bigger, tent-pole projects because they are talented and qualified (and not because of some arbitrary gender-balancing issue), then they need to keep knocking it out of the park with smaller indie features" make that kind of sexist mindset quite explicit.

  • Glenn | May 12, 2014 2:13 AMReply

    What about Patty Jenkins? She was even hired to direct THOR 2 so somebody saw something in her and thought she could helm a big budget effects-driven movie. I hope she eventually gets given the chance.

  • Jane | May 12, 2014 1:00 AMReply

    It's a fun article, but there's tons of experienced male directors, too. There's no lack of experience, male or female--but studios like hiring new, unproven directors because they can be completely controlled, and will bow to all the wishes of the studio execs. This is becoming a disquieting trend. Wally Pfister, sure--but many other big budget films coming out this summer follow the same trend. This article should be about inexperienced males vs. experienced females, it should be about giving a chance to a first-time female who they can control just as well as a male.

  • Jess | May 12, 2014 12:43 AMReply

    Wow, I'm so pleasantly surprised to see someone call the studios out on this! Yes, more women should be given a chance. It's sad that in this day and age they aren't for no reason other than ignorance.

  • Ryan | May 10, 2014 1:27 PMReply

    Things to consider:

    Are any of these women interested?
    Are any of these other candidates already incredibly familiar with other collaborators on board?
    Are any of these other candidates better known to Paramount than Orci?

    Also, Paramount's gonna do what Paramount's gonna do. Hollywood is still a boys club; the only way to change this, and if we're arguing women need to be hired for bigger, tent-pole projects because they are talented and qualified (and not because of some arbitrary gender-balancing issue), then they need to keep knocking it out of the park with smaller indie features, and WE need to spend our money watching them. Hollywood will follow the money.

  • Tom | May 10, 2014 5:53 AMReply

    I don't think its as clear cut as that. Films like the Star Trek franchise are basically huge CGI spectacles. The majority of the film is going to be created on a computer. And like it or not, there are very few women working in the world of IT.

    Paramount need a Director, to not only get the best performances out of the cast, but also direct the legions of technicians necessary to create the visual FX expected of a movie of this size.

    Someone whose directed a short indie flick, or a TV drama series, just isn't going to cut it.

    So women, if you want bigger roles in Hollywood, embrace the technology.

  • The commenter formerly known as "what?" | May 12, 2014 2:28 PM

    @ FP and @ StephenT - thank you for your insightful comments. It is so unusual to be backed up in situations like this.

    @Taylor - I am fascinated at the sheer number of sexist tropes you managed to employ in a single comment (telling me to calm down, assuming my anger clouded my capacity for discussion, assuming the fervour of my opinions was down to subjective bitterness rather than a reasonable sense of operating prejudices). And yet, interestingly, you did not answer any one of my points. If you are so interested in having an actual discussion, perhaps you might actually discuss the matter in hand, and address the points I made, rather than try to derail the conversastion with a set of patronising comments (all of which assume, by the way, that I am a woman; a very interesting assumption given I said not a thing to suggest as much.)

  • StephenT | May 12, 2014 10:10 AM

    I suppose my above comments should have been a reply, here, to the ludicrous comments made by this @Tom person.

  • FP | May 11, 2014 7:49 PM

    @Heezels, by your logic, Chris Pine could direct ST3. Or Zachary Quinto. Or Zoe Saldana. Or John Cho. At least Quinto has produced several Oscar-nominated feature.

    No one is suggesting that a woman *must* direct this film. The original thrust of this piece is that a screenwriter with *zero* directorial experience is somehow on the brink of convincing a studio that he's worthy of taking $120-150M to make a future-busting project. If he was a she, this wouldn't be the case because she wouldn't get past "she's never directed a film." Period. Even if she had written all of Orci's scripts and was personally endorsed by Abrams and the crew. They'd tell her to make one feature first, not even a short. Denial of this is folly.

    All the macho posturing that women haven't earned their opportunity or can't lead men, while fête-ing Orci, is sexist garbage. Again, deny it all you like but it stinks of it.

  • heezels | May 11, 2014 5:50 PM

    @FP let's be fair to the abilities of Orci. He may not be a leading visual artist, but in terms of the amount of time spent with this franchise, it seems like a logical business decision. I'm not saying that sexism doesn't exist in Hollywood, because it does. But I'm also not seeing any better options. If Star Trek is going to sink, let it sink. I believe someone already commented that Hollywood will always follow the money. Well let them follow the money. Don't watch the movie.

    But don't try to defend choosing a female director because the director needs to be a woman. That does such a disservice to female directors and their craft.

  • FP | May 11, 2014 4:58 PM

    @Tom & Taylor, just because neither of you want to acknowledge the prejudices attached to boys' club mentality doesn't mean it isn't relevant to the topic at hand.

    IT, like directing, is a boys' club because they choose it that way, not because they choose the best people. Orci and Kurtzman are hack writers attached to projects by their more successful friends. That's all. Screenwriters at that. They have no more ability than a female counterpart at directing, period. Use any excuse you like but they don't.

    Directing a tentpole pic requires more than just telling CGI artists what to do. It is an intensely artistically driven job, made MORE difficult because of the number of people involved. So this idea that a hack screenwriter neophyte director doesn't have much to do is precisely why ST3 would suck beyond words.

    Own some of the reality of the sexism both of you are defending. You'd get a fraction of the respect you're not getting now because you want to avoid a real conversation about the problem.

  • Taylor | May 10, 2014 4:27 PM


    And therein lies the problem with having an actual discussion about gender roles in Hollywood: right off the bat, you come out swinging, reacting to Tom's objections as being discriminatory, and accusing him of being a "sexist apologist."

    Is it even possible to discuss this topic without hyperbole and name-calling? We're trying to have an actual discussion here and you have to come along and start hurling all of your own abundantly-obvious personal baggage at everyone, wielding your insecurities like a weapon, ready to call anyone who even slightly disagrees with you a sexist.

    Just calm down, take a deep breath, and remember one very simple thing: the world isn't out to get you, regardless of whatever garbage you read on some back-water Tumblr blog dedicated to rooting out "the patriarchy in all aspects of life."

    Believe it or not, not all of us men are your enemy here. In fact, despite the fact that Hollywood still is a boys club (honestly, no one here is even bothering to deny that), we're not constantly twisting our mustaches, coming up with ways we can continue to oppress women as though we're all Pete Campbell from Mad Men (hint: we're not). In fact, that some still throw all men under the same "misogynistic oppressor" bus is just another sign far too many people are still too damn immature to discuss these topics without taking it so personally.

  • Tom | May 10, 2014 8:10 AM

    IT departments are predominantly populated by men. The work is often seen as the un-sexy side of the industry. The gender imbalance is acute, but this is true across all Engineering disciplines. A quick look at some stats shows that only one in seven people studying Engineering are women.

    Orci is one of the most profitable screenwriters of all time. His partnership with Kurtzman has generated more than $3 billion in revenue and more importantly they wrote the scripts to the previous two Star Trek movies.

    All I'm saying is that there's more to this than the random facts thrown into this article.

    Women must earn their right to direct large scale blockbuster movies, not just be given the jobs because of their gender.

    Directing a few episodes of ER doesn't cut it at this level.

  • WHAT? | May 10, 2014 6:40 AM

    Sorry, what? Just literally, what?

    Even on your own poorly evidenced logic, you don't have a point. Could you list Orci's vast experience in "the world of IT"? Or in directing "legions of technicians"?

    There are plenty of women in the "world of IT". To suggest that the disproportionate numbers of men to women is because women are not "embracing the technology" is just to pass the sexist buck: women face similar problems of prejudice in tech as they do in film, to blame them is just to reveal your own biases.

    So, Tom, if you want to avoid sounding like a sexist apologist for discrimination, think harder about your opinions. Indeed, if you want experience with directing a huge production and gaining the associated managerial skills, Mimi Leder has a *far* superior CV on this front than Roberto Orci.

  • Seriously? | May 9, 2014 3:55 PMReply

    What makes Paramount think that this guy knows two cents about working with actors to create great performances, managing tone, smart visual storytelling or offers any sort of fresh creative perspective? Why not give this to someone who has at least done some killer short films? Or I dunno... directed anything, ever?

  • Heezels | May 11, 2014 5:58 PM

    He has a good amount of experience. He's been attached to the project as a screenwriter since "Star Trek." He also has writing experience with this type of genre, sci-fi fantasy. That also goes with his producer credits. Now this experience may mean nothing, but that doesn't mean that he isn't capable of producing a decent film.

  • FP | May 9, 2014 3:39 PMReply

    Why has Kathryn Bigelow has stopped directing studio pictures? Hasn't she earned a big fat check by now like ST3?

    I'd throw my vote to Michelle McClaren, probably the best for-hire director out there in TV, but her schedule is probably filled for the next 18 months. Not that she wouldn't want to do it.

  • Oldtime Trekkie (Trekker for you old'uns) | May 9, 2014 1:48 PMReply

    Yep. So many amazing ones! Would love to see Callie Khouri in the director's chair, too. Thelma and Louise has more balls than Star Trek, and I LOVE Star Trek!

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