Friday

Emily Blunt and a lack of interesting female roles in superhero movies

There's an interesting interview with Emily Blunt up on Vulture. This quote jumped out at me:

At one point, you were up for parts in Iron Man 2 and Captain America, but you passed. Would you ever want to do a superhero movie?

Usually the female parts in a superhero film feel thankless: She's the pill girlfriend while the guys are whizzing around saving the world. I didn't do the other ones because the part wasn't very good or the timing wasn't right, but I'm open to any kind of genre if the part is great and fun and different and a challenge in some way. I would love to do a comic-book movie or a science-fiction film that would scare the bejesus out of me. Maybe I need to be James Bond! I just did Looper, because it's so original and breathtakingly cool. The time-travel aspect is just a backdrop to visit this heightened world, where you're atoning for something and attempting to be more than you've been.

Admittedly, I love Emily Blunt, and I know that lots of people will be up at arms about this, but she's right. We'll see what happens with The Avengers this summer. I hope that Joss Whedon has something interesting cooked up for Black Widow and Maria Hill. The Hunger Games will offer a different kind of female heroine and Pixar has a movie with a female lead character, Brave. The question is, will they be seen as a possible model for other films and demonstrate that there's an audience interested in interesting female characters in action and adventure stories, or will it be dismissed as a strange one-off?

This is where I think the short-lived television series Undercovers could have been really interesting because it featured a couple who were spies and presented both characters as capable, intelligent, resourceful, but with slightly different talents and approaches. The show had its problems, well, many problems, but I would have loved to have seen more of Gugu Mbatha-Raw's character (and not just because I love the actor) but because she was a bad-ass secret agent who was also a real, complex person. In the first episode, dressed in skin tight leather worthy of Emma Peel she blew the bad guy's car off the road and after it crashed, walked over to where he was crawling out of the vehicle, introduced herself and kicked him in the face.

I'm a big fan of Angelina Jolie and I thought that Mr. and Mrs. Smith was an interesting film and Tomb Raider was, well...moving on...Salt was a good film and she was pretty bad ass in the movie, but I do hope that she uses her success to try to make a different kind of film in the next few years. Currently she bounces between action films and thrillers like The Tourist and Wanted with serious films like A Mighty Heart and Changeling. Now don't get me wrong, I think A Mighty Heart is one of her best films and one of her best performances, but what if she were to push for a more intelligent thriller.

Picture Jolie starring in a political/topical film along the lines of Green Zone or Body of Lies or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy? Picture her overseeing a team of agents like in Mission: Impossible? Picture her as a bank robber along the lines of Clooney's character in Out of Sight? Picture her Picture her starring in a heist film? Picture her starring in a Hitchcockian thriller (or maybe after the failure of The Tourist, we shouldn't...) I would have liked to see her play Adele Blanc-Sec.

Charlize Theron seems to be returning to genre films this year with Prometheus and Snow White and the Huntsman. I wasn't a fan of Hancock, which she co-starred in, and Aeon Flux had a lot of problems as a film, but it was interesting. I'd like to see Theron try an interesting action genre film again. Theron has been great at working with female filmmakers and making different films, it would be great to see her try to make a push for a commercial genre film that offered some interesting roles for women.

When they made Transformers films, they didn't have to have a lead role and the female lead character didn't have to be nothing more than "hot chick in tight clothing." People go to see Alie in Wonderland in the movies or on tv every few years, so why not an older female lead character in a fantasy movie? People liked the film The Mummy, so what if the main character was a cross between Rachel Weisz and Brendan Fraser's characters and female? Would people still have been interested?

Catwoman and Elektra weren't bad movies because they starred women. They didn't fail because they starred women. They were horrible movies that no one liked.

So what would it take for Emily Blunt to play James Bond? Or maybe Tara Chace? I don't know, but I'd go see that flick.

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