The aftermath of the Weinstein scandal

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IN 2009 Nina Jacobson—formerly president of a Walt Disney studio, by then an independent film producer—was pitching a new franchise to Hollywood bigwigs. “The Hunger Games”, based on a bestselling novel, was the sort of dystopian sci-fi epic that might seem an easy sell. Yet several executives passed, partly because the heroes were teenagers—and partly because the central character was a woman. “I was taught as though it were a common-knowledge truth that girls will identify with a male protagonist, but boys will not identify with a female protagonist,” says Ms Jacobson, who eventually sold the project to Lionsgate, a minor studio. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, it became a huge hit.

Ms Jacobson describes the industry’s rules of thumb about women on screen as “bias disguised as knowledge”. The trouble was, she says, that “there weren’t enough cases to prove the theories wrong.” There may be soon.

The scandal over Harvey Weinstein’s treatment of women, and over the…Continue reading

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