You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

WME-GLAAD Panel Focuses on LGBTQ Inclusion in Film, Endeavor Pledges to Boost Representation

Director Kay Cannon, whose feature debut in R-rated comedy “Blockers” featured a lesbian romance, said the original script did not include a gay character.

But after considering that teenage girls may be grappling with their sexuality, Cannon said she decided to write the character into the film and was later surprised there was no push back from the studio, Universal.

“I didn’t get a note,” Cannon said. “They were incredibly progressive.”

Despite the inclusion of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) characters in recent major releases like “Blockers” and “Love, Simon,” 2017 was not a good year for LGBTQ characters in film, according to a GLAAD report released Tuesday showing fewer films featuring LGBTQ characters compared with 2016.

The report was the subject of conversation Tuesday at WME, where the agency partnered with GLAAD to host a panel. Cannon was one of several participating in the discussion on the state of LGBTQ inclusiveness in Hollywood films. Also participating were Ben Cory Jones, a producer and writer on HBO’s “Insecure,” producer and longtime film executive Nina Jacobson, “Superstore” actor Nico Santos as well as GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. Los Angeles Times film reporter Tre’vell Anderson moderated the discussion.

Jacobson, a former Disney film executive, said the growing list of films featuring diverse story lines and characters has shown that inclusiveness can help a studio’s bottom line. That’s a shift from purely altruistic reasons for writing female and minority characters.

“For a while, inclusion was seen as a good deed, the right thing to do,” Jacobson said, saying that the shift has been “reinforced in the success of more inclusive stories.”

Jones, whose work has primarily been in television, said TV has been able to more quickly diversify because of the rise in female and minority writers who bring their own experiences to their work. Film has seemed to be a tougher industry to crack, he quipped. “I still don’t know how one gets a film made today,” he said. “As a queer storyteller, I automatically have an agenda that when I go into a writer’s room, I’m going to bring my perspective. Television might be ahead of the curve because there are more of us in the trenches trying to tell those stories.”

Ellis, a former media executive, said that as the film business moves toward superhero franchises, Hollywood should not write out queer characters present in the source material. “There are queer characters in those comics that were written out when it goes out to the big screen. That’s something that we’re really focused on, is keeping us in the story.”

GLAAD’s report, the Studio Responsibility Index, set a goal for studios that calls for at least 20% of major studio releases to include LGBTQ characters by 2021 and 50% by 2024. Endeavor Content on Tuesday said it would rise to the challenge.

At the conclusion of the panel, Endeavor Content announced the company’s commitment to the goal of ensuring that 20% of Hollywood films include LGBTQ characters by 2021, becoming the first major content player to make the pledge. WME/Endeavor Content have previously stated their commitment to inclusion riders, saying they would work with their clients to implement the contractually-mandated effort to improve diversity in film and television production.

More Biz

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Some Weinstein Accusers Balk at $30 Million Settlement

    Updated: Some of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers are not satisfied with a proposed $30 million settlement of their harassment claims, and may not agree to the deal, Variety has learned. Attorneys in the Weinstein Co. bankruptcy case told Judge Mary Walrath on Thursday that they are close to a global resolution of the civil litigation. The [...]

  • Director Dean DeBlois and online game

    'Dragon' Director Dean DeBlois and PUBG's CH Kim to Keynote 2019 VIEW Conference

    Dean DeBlois, director and executive producer of DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” and PUBG Corporation CEO CH Kim are the first keynote speakers announced for the 2019 VIEW Conference in Turin, Italy, in October. Since it began 12 years ago, VIEW, which stands for Virtual Interactive Emerging World, has continually [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Harvey Weinstein Accusers Near Settlement in Bankruptcy Case

    Attorneys in the Weinstein Co. bankruptcy case say they are getting close to reaching a settlement that would compensate Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct accusers. The company went bankrupt last year, as it faced hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and numerous civil suits on behalf of Weinstein’s alleged victims. The company sold to Lantern [...]

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

  • Pamela Anderson

    Pamela Anderson Fears Julian Assange 'Won't Survive' Extradition to U.S.

    After previously speaking out in support of her friend and WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, Pamela Anderson doesn’t think he would survive an extradition from the U.K. to the U.S. “I hope he gets out of there, but I don’t think he’ll survive extradition. It can’t happen. It’s not even an option. We can’t have him [...]

  • Jane Austin SAG AFTRA

    SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer Jane Austin Running for President

    Jane Austin, the National Secretary-Treasurer of SAG-AFTRA, has become the third candidate for the presidency of the performers union, joining incumbent Gabrielle Carteris and Matthew Modine. Austin is running as an independent for the top post at SAG-AFTRA, which has 160,000 members. Carteris will seek re-election as the head of the ticket for the Unite [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content