Gender Equality a Focus for Marvel Studios On and Off-Screen
Victoria Alonso, Marvel Studios Executive VP of Physical Production and superstar MCU producer, was one of the featured speakers at the Women in Technology luncheon recently. The luncheon was hosted by the Hollywood Professional Association’s Women in Post and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. During her presentation, she made it clear that gender equality has become a key focus for Marvel Studios.
Gender equality — on and off-screen — has been a hot topic in Hollywood, as studios are slowly starting to make the necessary changes. Successful female lead franchises like The Hunger Games, whose four films have collectively grossed almost $3 billion worldwide, have made studios a little less gun-shy about casting female leads for action franchises. Marvel Studios will give Evangeline Lilly a co-headlining spot with Paul Rudd in 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp and will debut their first female-led superhero film, Captain Marvel, starring Academy Award Winner Brie Larson in March of 2019.
But Marvel is just as focused on equal representation behind-the-camera as well. Alonso stated that there is a “conscious change” in regards to hiring more female creative talent behind the scenes. Alonso noted that part of the reason for the slow change was that previously gender inequality was not openly discussed. However, that is no longer the case. “In the past year, it bubbled up and it’s no longer acceptable to women and some men,” she said.
But Alonso’s comments weren’t just a rallying cry to the women in the audience. The Hollywood Reporter stated, Alonso also implored men to take action; “You are important change makers. When you wonderful men say ‘balance is necessary’…you open that door and the product is going to be better [with varied perspectives].” Alonso also credited President of Production Kevin Feige and Co-President Louis D’Esposito with helping to spearhead this change.
However, it seems that this shift had already begun to take root and extend beyond Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Less than a week ago, Jessica Jones executive producer and showrunner Melissa Rosenberg announced that all 13 episodes of season two will be directed by women.
Why does this matter? Beyond the obvious of more creative and production jobs for women, bringing in more female writers and directors also means the potential for new and different perspectives. When you’re tasked with bringing female characters to life on screen, it helps to have someone at the helm who can understand the character at a deeper level, maybe even identify with them to some extent. On a personal level, as a writer in a male-dominated industry (tech), it’s inspiring to see women in these high-power creative positions start to really influence and shape the movies and TV shows I love so much.
Featured image: Captain Marvel #1, cover art by Kris Anka