Lake Bell Is Optimistic About Gender Equality in Hollywood


Lake Bell, one of the triumvirs starring in the new cabin-in-the-woods thriller Black Rock, had an interesting take on the difficulties female filmmakers face when trying to break into the Hollywood mainstream. Though the gender disparity in the ranks of Hollywood scribes and directors is pretty glaring, Bell is optimistic that the industry has made lots of gender equality progress.

Bell currently appears as a camper alongside Kate Bosworth and Katie Aselton in a feminist riff on Deliverance Aselton (most famous for her role on FX’s The League) co-wrote with her husband Mark Duplass. In an interview with BuzzFeed’s Jordan Zakarin, Bell, whose directorial debut In a World received loads of praise for all its indie splendor, said she doesn’t really see a glaring dearth of female filmmakers, but that’s just, like, her opinion or whatever. Moreover, Bell says that Black Rock, which pits a trio of men against a trio of women, is in “no way” an allegory for the current state of Hollywood:

I feel that because it’s a question that’s posed to me. I don’t find it in the practicality of my day-to-day; I don’t find it hard to make a film because I am a woman. I think if you have a movie to make, make it. If you happen to have a vagina, that’s okay. Still make it.
I feel horrible if I’m being trite about it and someone has had a bad experience, but me personally, I have not found that. I think the film community itself is incredibly inviting and supportive and embraces filmmakers, so get in there and make a movie. It doesn’t have to cost a lot; Freebie[her first directorial effort] cost $15,000. You don’t have to sit there and wait for permission from a studio. Go make a movie…
I think I’m eager for the moment to arise when the story is less ‘What does it feel like to be a female director? I hope the story soon becomes ‘I either liked your movie or I didn’t, let’s talk about your movie.’ That’s the real goal. Because honestly I look around and I see wonderful role models that are ladies. People who are writers and directors, people who are actors and directors, writer actors. There are a myriad of them and I look around to all sides and I see support and feel support, so I guess I have a more optimistic outlook on them.

Aspiring filmmakers of the world, do you here? Just go make a movie! Raise some money on Kickstarter and off you go. Bell’s comments do seem a little cavalier, but, then again, she has a point — the world really doesn’t need any more aspiring filmmakers, and if you want people to see your work, you might have to go off Kevin Smith-style, commandeer your local convenience store, and make your own fucking movie without worrying about how much debt you will incur. Creative work is some of the most insecure work that exists, and at some point, an aspiring writer/director/actor/marionette puppeteer will have to take a leap of faith and pretend that, so long as he or she does good work, success will (eventually) follow.

Of course, the world isn’t that simple and there are many truly daunting obstacles between creative aspirations and creative success, among them the inveterate sexism in the entertainment industry. Bell’s advice might be good for the individual aspirant, but, as even a modestly successful filmmaker, she has the sort of industry insight that would (if she offered it) make her commentary on Hollywood’s gender disparity valuable.


Image via Getty, Jason Merritt

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