Patricia Clarkson addresses Hollywood sexism
‘A white male actor should never be allowed to complain about anything’
Patricia Clarkson says women “have risen” in Hollywood but are “still underpaid” and “still a vast minority” — and she’s shared some more candid thoughts about sexism in the industry.
Speaking to The Guardian while promoting her film Learning to Drive, the conversation turned to the outcry over the female-led Ghostbusters reboot.
“There are still so many movies made starring 50 men and one woman!” Clarkson said. “A white male actor should never be allowed to complain about anything. Shut up and sit in the corner. I mean, seriously! The odds of us having films made which star women… Everyone still references one movie: Bridesmaids! Ghostbusters is a great thing and I love these actresses. I can’t wait to see it.”
She also noted a double standard in the pressures a film like Ghostbusters faces to be successful. “Men make bad movies that bomb all the time but they’re like, ‘Oh, well, we didn’t do the marketing right,’” she told The Guardian. “Eat me!”
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Clarkson touched on her personal experience with wage disparity in the film industry during the interview, revealing she discovered eight years ago that a male costar was being paid more than her and she “absolutely” demanded the gap be rectified.
“When I was younger, of course I had people act inappropriately to me,” she added. “I’ve had certain directors yell at me. But I didn’t stand for it and I didn’t let it go far enough for it to be in any way abusive to me. People didn’t speak up as much as they do now.”
Clarkson also described seeking out challenging roles to play among the “desexed, matronly” ones she’s offered.
“We always tend to want to soften female characters,” she explained. “Well, unless it’s some ridiculous caricature like a dominatrix or a one-dimensional boss with no life and bad hair. These archetypal older women in movies can sometimes make my skin crawl. It’s about the one dimension, it’s about the lack of any texture.”
Read more from Clarkson’s interview at The Guardian.