Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Broad Green Enters Long-Term Home Video Deal with Universal for Burgeoning Slate Broad Green Enters Long-Term Home Video Deal with Universal for Burgeoning Slate Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Watch 'SPECTRE' Trailer: James Bond Meets the Author of His Pain Watch 'SPECTRE' Trailer: James Bond Meets the Author of His Pain 'BoJack Horseman,' 'Rick and Morty,' and Our Love/Hate Relationship with TV 'BoJack Horseman,' 'Rick and Morty,' and Our Love/Hate Relationship with TV Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) First Look at Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as a Gay Couple in 'Freeheld' First Look at Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as a Gay Couple in 'Freeheld' Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991 Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991

Comic-Con Exclusive: Gale Anne Hurd Talks Walking Dead, Comic Book Movies, Girls Gone Genre

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 25, 2011 at 8:29AM

There's a reason Gale Anne Hurd turned from producing movies like The Terminator, Aliens and The Punisher to cable series like The Walking Dead. HBO, AMC, FX, Showtime, USA and other cable networks are where the smart writing, production values and character development are. And Comic-Con demonstrated without a doubt that the organizers have to rethink who gets to go into Hall H.
2
Thompson on Hollywood

There's a reason Gale Anne Hurd turned from producing movies like The Terminator, Aliens and The Punisher to cable series like The Walking Dead. HBO, AMC, FX, Showtime, USA and other cable networks are where the smart writing, production values and character development are. And Comic-Con demonstrated without a doubt that the organizers have to rethink who gets to go into Hall H.

While I admire and respect Robert Rodriguez, Aardman Animation and Francis Coppola, there was a real argument for mounting those panels in a smaller venue and letting The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones panels, for example, move into the bigger hall. There were Hall H-level lines for those panels, and genuine excitement that was often missing from studio panels in Hall H this year, showing yet again that Hollywood should pay heed to all the smart adults--and filmmakers-- heading away from the multiplexes to cable.

Check out my exclusive flip cam interview with Hurd on these topics and and more, plus an UPDATED report on the "Girls Gone Genre" panel below.

Thompson on Hollywood

Hurd joined my fellow Master of the Web panelist Jenna Busch on the second annual Girls Gone Genre panel, along with writer-producer Jane Espenson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Torchwood), screenwriter-producer Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island , Ghost in the Shell, Bionic Woman, Avatar, Fantastic Voyage), writer Marjorie Liu (X-23, Daken: Dark Wolverine, Black Widow, Dirk & Steele novel series) and screenwriter-producer Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Mad Men, Fright Night), in a lively discussion on how women can deliver genre fare just as well as men. There just aren't that many of them.

"I like to write action," said Kalogridis. "Hero stories are interesting to me. I've never encountered being objectified. I've never been thought of as anything but a writer first, everything else second. Eight years with Jim [Cameron] will teach you not to care what anyone else thinks. I'm always being offered romantic comedies and several versions of The Piano, but not doing it until the right thing came along. My limits seem to be internal. I'd like my daughter to learn how to field strip a weapon, not pole dance." She was referring to Noxon's explanation for how many women internalize the culture's most fetishistic male fantasies about what's sexy, and try to please them by dressing like a "pole dancer," she said, when they should actually be relating to their own friends.

Hurd recalled that even after having produced The Terminator and Aliens, male executives would say to her, "How can a little girl like you produce a movie like this?" Hurd "held my tongue," she said. "It was the right step when I was starting out not to make enemies. I had plenty of time to do that later." (laughter) After she had learned to dress professionally and earned her stripes with a strong portfolio of films, Hurd could speak her mind. "Not everyone was enlightened and a lot of people were intimidated," she said--long-time mentor Roger Corman was not among them. "Eventually the real me did come out." She remains surprised by how many men "are intimidated by talented, strong powerful women to this day."

Liu found that in the world of urban fantasy, most of the writers were women, but in comics, all were men. She was treated very differently by the two groups. "As a storyteller the best thing for me to do is well the best stories I can and ask for what I want." There is still the perception that women can only write about women. "I don't want that stereotype. I also write men as well," she said, thanking her more enlightened male bosses for supporting her along the way. "I might have been helped by good women, but there weren't any."

Kalogridis cited Cameron for promoting the warrior goddess in his films, and loved the period in TV when women warriors prevailed on Star Trek, Femme Nikita and Xena: Warrior Princess. "There's nothing like it now. It feels like they're all interested in branding." She didn't go for the Olivia Wilde character in Tron because she was "a woman child, who knew nothing about computers, she was a bad-ass physically, but not smart."

Noxon feels that many women characters are too perfect: "they're too confident, super beautiful, not flawed and not interesting." She did a rewrite on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and "I hope it gets made. The romantic heroine is struggling with the social mores of that time, killing zombies and kicking ass in a dress." Hurd praised Angelina Jolie for kicking ass in Salt which was originally written for a man. "That gives me hope."

Hurd also participated in the Walking Dead panel and press interviews.


This article is related to: Festivals, Genres, Video, Stuck In Love, Interviews , TV, Comic-Con, Sci-fi, Horror , Comics, Action, Screenwriters, HBO, AMC


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.