×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cannes: Salma Hayek, Parker Posey Blast Hollywood Sexism

Salma Hayek blasted the movie industry for giving up on women both behind and in front of the camera at a Variety-hosted event Saturday afternoon at the Cannes Film Festival.

“For a long time they thought the only thing we were interested in seeing were romantic comedies,” said Hayek, who appears in the Cannes drama “Tale of Tales.” “They don’t see us as a powerful economic force, which is an incredible ignorance.”

Joining the conversation about gender inequality in Hollywood were actresses Parker Posey (“Irrational Man”) and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (“Jazbaa”), as well as producers Christine Vachon and Elizabeth Karlsen (who both worked on “Carol”). The event was co-hosted by the U.N. Women’s HeForShe campaign, and moderated by Variety co-editor-in-chief Claudia Eller and U.N. Women head Elizabeth Nyamayaro. Variety publisher Michelle Sobrino welcomed the crowd at the Radisson Blu hotel.

Despite the success of films like “The Hunger Games,” “Frozen” and “The Fault in Our Stars,” women directed only 17 of the 250 top-grossing films of last year, and there seem to be fewer A-list leading ladies who are paid as much as their male counterparts. “The only kind of movie where women make more than men is the porno industry,” Hayek said. “It’s simple ignorance.”

Bachchan said that even in international markets, a women starring in a movie is considered a niche product. “It’s pretty much the same everywhere across the globe,” Bachchan said. “We keep coming back to reiterating preconceived ideas.”

Posey talked about how she loved to watch Turner Classic Movies from the ’40s, where the female characters were witty and three-dimensional. “It’s so rare that I see that in movies now,” Posey said. She added: “We’re in very masculine times. We’re at war. The culture is eating nature, it’s overpowering storytelling.”

Hayek said that she’s lost out on jobs because A-list actors have approval over her casting, whereas top actresses in Hollywood don’t get similar deals. She noted how studio executives suffer from amnesia when it comes to female-driven hits. “They don’t know what we want to see,” Hayek said. “When women don’t direct and women don’t write and tell our own stories, we stopped going to the movies and started watching them on television.”

Vachon acknowledged that there are certainly more powerful roles for women on the smallscreen. “I think to some degree it is because television, at least in the United States, has become a place where riskier stories are told, more character-driven stories are told and often those are female-driven,” she said.

Karlsen noted the amount of pressure to succeed for “Carol,” a lesbian 1950s love story directed by Todd Haynes and starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, which premieres at Cannes on Sunday night. “Certainly there’s a huge question mark,” Karlsen said. “It’s female-led. It’s a lesbian romance. There’s a huge wave of expectation.”

Hayek said that women in Hollywood can’t continue to allow themselves to be sidelined. “Look, we cannot stand as victims and say they are not looking at us,” she said. But she noted that Hollywood does care about money, and women — who make up 50 percent of tickets sold — need to continue to exercise their strength in numbers.

“What gives me hopes is that we are in a position of power,” Hayek said. “And I am so grateful to gay men. If it wasn’t for Tennessee Williams and Pedro Almodovar, it would be even worse.”

More Film

  • Atlantics

    Netflix Snags Worldwide Rights to Cannes Winners 'Atlantics,' 'I Lost My Body'

    Mati Diop’s feature directorial debut “Atlantics” and Jérémy Clapin’s animated favorite “I Lost My Body” have both been acquired by Netflix following wins at Cannes Film Festival. “Atlantics” was awarded the grand prix while “I Lost My Body” was voted the best film at the independent International Critics Week. The deals are for worldwide rights [...]

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

  • Moby attends the LA premiere of

    Moby Apologizes to Natalie Portman Over Book Controversy

    Moby has issued an apology of sorts after writing in his recently published memoir “Then It Fell Apart” that he dated Natalie Portman when she was 20 — a claim the actress refuted. “As some time has passed I’ve realized that many of the criticisms leveled at me regarding my inclusion of Natalie in Then [...]

  • Bong Joon-ho reacts after winning the

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes

    CANNES — The 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival wrapped with jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu announcing the group’s unanimous decision to award the Palme d’Or to South Korean director Bong Joon-ho for his sly, politically charged “Parasite.” Following last year’s win for humanistic Japanese drama “Shoplifters,” the well-reviewed Asian thriller represents the yin [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão'

    A “tropical melodrama” is how the marketing materials bill “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão.” If that sounds about the most high-camp subgenre ever devised, Karim Aïnouz’s ravishing period saga lives up to the description — high emotion articulated with utmost sincerity and heady stylistic excess, all in the perspiring environs of midcentury Rio de [...]

  • Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The 10 Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The Cannes Film Festival is too rich an event to truly have an “off” year, but by the end of the 72nd edition, it was more or less universally acknowledged that the festival had regained a full-on, holy-moutaintop-of-art luster that was a bit lacking the year before. It helps, of course, to have headline-making movies [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Soaring to $100 Million-Plus Memorial Day Weekend Debut

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” remake is on its way to a commendable Memorial Day weekend debut with an estimated $109 million over the four-day period. The musical fantasy starring Will Smith and Mena Massoud should uncover about $87 million in its first three days from 4,476 North American theaters after taking in $31 million on Friday. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content