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Honorees laud femmes

Lucas, DeVito explain hiring practices

To George Lucas, discussing the subject of why he has employed so many women over the years seems almost superfluous.

“I’ve just hired people who were good at their jobs,” Lucas said Wednesday night shortly before ascending the stage to receive a Martini Shot Mentor Award from Women in Film.

Half the senior management in Lucasfilm and the “Star Wars” creator’s myriad other companies, which employ 1,800 people altogether, are women, he said, “which is what happens when you treat people equally.”

Later, from the podium in a Universal Studios soundstage, the normally reclusive Lucas harkened to his childhood, when, he said, his mother and three sisters “made me understand that women are a little bit more than equal.”

Danny DeVito, another Martini Shot recipient, has a similar situation at his own company, Jersey Films, where the majority of employees is female.

“There are only three or four meathooks running around — the rest are women,” he told Daily Variety. “It’s better, better, better to work with women — period. I’ve always been more comfortable with women; they get things done better.”

The WIF event, he said, should not be remarkable. “It’s women celebrating the fact that they’re in the film industry. It’s not like we have to send up fireworks or something.”

The other Martini Shot honorees were actor Forest Whitaker, producer Steven Bochco and Fox CEO Bill Mechanic. The latter was introduced affectionately by Jennifer Aniston and Laura Ziskin, but not before pitching him a movie that, they said, would be a cross between “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Toy Story 2.”

“Your words totally warmed my heart,” Mechanic said with a smile. “But I’m not going to buy your pitch.”

Kim Delaney introduced Bochco, saying that, in his company, “women hold all but one key executive position.”

Bochco recalled that when he entered the business, the only women on lots were secretaries, who “were easy to discount — and everyone invariably did.”

When his turn came, Whitaker praised the women in his life for their “power to give, for their ability to create and to love.”

The evening was dedicated to two mentors no longer with us, Stanley Kubrick and Gene Siskel. It was the last WIF event for outgoing president Iris Grossman, whose position will be taken over by Hollace Davids. Emcees were Kevin Pollak and Diane Lane.

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