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Aaron Sorkin thinks female roles have a lesser 'degree of difficulty'

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Aaron Sorkin
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The Sony hack’s latest revelations include thoughts on the state of women in Hollywood from someone who has a less-than-stellar reputation in creating strong female characters: Aaron Sorkin.

Aaron Sorkin made it clear in The New York Times that he doesn’t think that journalists should report on information gleaned from the Sony hack, but that hasn’t stopped his own emails from coming to light. Most recently, The Daily Beast reported on an email that Sorkin sent to Times columnist Maureen Dowd—and Dowd, according to The Daily Beast, then forwarded to Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal—after Dowd wrote about female inequity in Hollywood following Cate Blanchett’s Best Actress speech at the Oscars. (Pascal was quoted in the piece.)

Sorkin called the column “great and very interesting,” and added that he would “only take issue with one thing and that’s the idea that something like Bridesmaids is seen as a fluke and that’s why we don’t see more movies like Bridesmaids. There’s an implication that studio heads have a stack of Bridesmaids-quality scripts on their desk that they’re not making and it’s just not true. The scripts aren’t there.”A rep for Sorkin told EW he was not available to comment.

Sorkin went on to argue that “the guy who wins the Oscar for Best Actor has a much higher bar to clear than the woman who wins Best Actress,” comparing, for example, Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance in Lincoln to Jennifer Lawrence’s performance in Silver Linings Playbook, saying Lawrence “did what a professional actress is supposed to be able to do” in that film. (Sorkin called out The Daily Beast’s report from the Sony hack that Lawrence was paid less than her male costars in American Hustle in his column against reporting on the leaked information.)  “Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep can play with the boys but there just aren’t that many tour-de-force roles out there for women,” he wrote.

This, of course, is notable and frustrating criticism from Sorkin, someone who has been routinely taken to task for the lack of good female roles in his own projects whether that be in the newly concluded The Newsroom or The Social Network. It’s all well and good that Sorkin doesn’t think that there are enough good female roles, but it could be argued that he’s done little to fix that problem in his own work. By then arguing that women don’t give as strong performances as their male counterparts when they win Hollywood’s top awards, he simply proves that women have to face an uphill battle.

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