This week Rachel Weisz was awarded a Gotham Award for her role in The Favourite, a historical drama. But her speech looked to the future of women in Hollywood, not the past.
“I hope one day in the not-so-distant future we don’t get asked what it was like to share the screen with other women,” Weisz said. She stars in The Favourite alongside Emma Stone and Olivia Coleman. While their characters may compete for royal favour, she’s tired of the implication that the actresses themselves aren’t getting along.
It’s a common question that comes up again and again in women-led movies; what is it like working with other women?
Last summer, the Ocean’s 8 cast lamented how often the question arises. “Women have been collaborating in the film industry for quite some time, even though the industry is trying to separate us, and silo us.” Cate Blanchett said in an interview with Refinery29.
Blanchett and Awkwafina pointed out how media turned women working together into drama. “I don’t know about you guys, but on the movies I’ve done, I’ve never fought. You know what I mean? That just doesn’t really exist on movie sets” Awkwafina said, pointing out the fact that the actresses were there to do their jobs and make a movie.
Sarah Paulson observed something similar. The Ocean’s 8 star spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about her time on American Horror Story. “Working on that show, I came up against my own prejudice, that narrative I had been holding without realising it, about what it was like to work with women.” She explained how she was “conditioned to think that women don’t get along,” and that portrayals in Hollywood fed into this narrative.
The implication that women are hard to work with is a pervasive stereotype that is holding Hollywood back. Again and again, the cast of Ocean’s 8 emphasised that it is “just a movie.” While women working together in Hollywood should be celebrated, it shouldn’t be considered such an anomaly.
In fact, the Ocean’s 8 women were up against a myth so pervasive that comedian John Mulaney joked in 2012 that ” Ocean’s Eleven with women wouldn’t work because two would keep breaking off to talk s**t about the other nine.”
This myth is being torn down, one movie at a time — but it shouldn’t have lingered so long in the first place. Weisz got straight to the point; “I don’t think you ever ask men that.”