The Hollywood Reporter 2012 Actress Roundtable: Addressing Sexism, the Fight for Parts and Creating Media

Features
by Melissa Silverstein and Kerensa Cadenas
November 28, 2012 12:35 PM
9 Comments
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L-R: Helen Hunt, Rachel Weisz, Marion Cotillard, Naomi Watts, Anne Hathaway, Amy Adams and Sally Field
Last week, The Hollywood Reporter released their annual Actress Roundtable issue. This year the list was all white and included Sally Field, Anne Hathaway, Naomi Watts, Marion Cotillard, Helen Hunt, Amy Adams and Rachel Weisz all participated. Surprising omissions were Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain (which could have been because of their schedules.) We took the time to listen to the entire hour that was posted and found the roundtable banter between the actresses to be lively and warm. They discussed a wide range of topics including passion projects to terrible directors and addressed their admiration for one another’s work. (Let the fawning begin)

But the majority of their conversation always led back to a couple things: the fight for great parts, sexism in the industry and creating women centric media.  Here are some of the choice quotes.

On fighting for parts:

Hunt on her part in The Sessions:

Was I nervous about the nudity? Yeah, sure. You read something beautiful rarely as you [Sally Field] mentioned. I just thought it was beautiful and my desire to be in something beautiful was bigger than my nerves. I had a sort of feeling like--and this may come from being a little older. I thought whatever. I'm not going to slow down and dwell on what anyone thinks ever again. Just much more interesting to look at this part than to think about the ramifications personally or out there in the world --of having a body.

Sally Field on her role in Lincoln:

I'm almost 66 and I have awards and all that but I fought like holy hell for Lincoln. Like you cannot believe.

Marion Cotillard:

The material. It's actually true that it's really hard to find good material, amazing roles. And sometimes you feel like it's really hard to have the producer and directors with imagination that will take you to some places other people wouldn't think you'd be good for.

On Sexism:

Helen Hunt:

It's a little like when Hilary Clinton was running for President and they kept saying--they were asking Obama about foreign policy and they were asking her how do you stay healthy on the road. These softball questions and I feel--I want to know the process of these actresses. 

Note, after this portion of the roundtable the male moderators asked the actresses if they have ever been asked to do something they didn’t want to, Hunt confronts them, asking if they would ask the same of the actor’s roundtable. They claimed they would have.

Amy Adams:

I think that women's concerns are different than men's so I think it's ok that we are different. Our concerns and sometimes priorities are different--I'm not saying across the board. I think there is a reality--you are told constantly that you have a shelf life. And I don't know if men are told that.

On Creating More Women Centric Projects:

Anne Hathaway in response to Amy Adams wanting to produce projects for actresses:

We are talking about [ageism] it and we are all pissed about it and as we gain more power...but I think women are starting to take more care of each other. We're curious about our own stories and we're eager to tell them and learning how [to do so]. And we are moving to the place in the world where we can do it.

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9 Comments

  • Adam | December 4, 2012 1:16 PMReply

    This was odd. I felt kind of sick watching it. Made me want to cringe. Why did they all agree to do it?

  • Anna | November 30, 2012 7:19 PMReply

    A nice idea is celebrities to take photos of paparazzi and post them in a site. It is a nice way to give them a lesson and it is public's interest to know how paparazzi do their job.

  • Michael Medeiros | November 29, 2012 2:58 PMReply

    This was really a big snooze. Who are these interviewers? They seem to have no insight into the craft. The women looked really uncomfortable. And I agree with the "all white, all thin" comment below. And why is Indiewire simply rubber stamping the event? Ms Silverstein and Mz Cadenas, it's your blog. Why not add some of your own insight into the event, or non-event as the case may be? And as to the complaint from the actresses that it's hard to find good material, why should it be easy? I just don't think you're looking outside the box you're in.

  • Allison | November 29, 2012 2:18 PMReply

    i agree with Casey. The first thing I thought when I saw this picture is how creepy it is that the women all look alike--very thin white ladies. No diversity whatsoever.

  • Kathy | November 29, 2012 12:22 AMReply

    This is pretty superficial. I wish Geena Davis was part of the roundtable.

  • Casey | November 28, 2012 1:20 PMReply

    All white, all thin. Way to be diverse, Hollywood Reporter.

  • justine | November 28, 2012 9:50 PM

    I know right. Sick of this to be honest. Am I supposed to care?

  • Grif | November 28, 2012 5:32 PM

    Maybe its not always possible to have a diverse roundtable?

  • D. | November 28, 2012 2:03 PM

    Word.

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