In her 20-year career in Hollywood, Kate Bosworth has starred in blockbusters like “Superman Returns” as well as indie darlings like 2014’s “Still Alice.” But the actress has always had a desire to get more involved from the ground up.
Now, she is partnering with Women In Film and Chloe Wine Collection to launch the campaign She Directed to honor women in front of and behind the camera.
Part of the campaign includes a contest for female filmmakers to submit their films that feature women at the center of the story for the chance to earn professional mentorship and a cash prize. Bosworth, who is starring in and producing the upcoming “The I-Land” sci-fi series, tells Variety she wanted to get involved as it was the intersection of her three favorite things — “women, film, and wine” — and it was an opportunity to celebrate female-centered narratives.
“I’m always a big fan of brands who put their money where their mouth is. That’s really where you can start getting things out in front of people,” Bosworth says. “Putting people in front of people that are going to start moving the dial and dialogue, it’s really going to make a difference.”
While there have been many strides made to improve representation of women on screen, Bosworth says there’s one issue she’s noticed repeatedly throughout her entire career that not enough people are addressing. When it comes to casting, a male lead usually get hired before the actress, even if a woman is the protagonist of the movie.
“Ultimately, what it says to me is that we don’t matter as much as a different sex,” Bosworth says. “You don’t have as much value is what that says to me, or you’re not important enough. And I think that’s the wrong message to be sending out to anyone.”
Studios often operate under the notion that a male star can rack up more ticket sales at the box office compared to his female counterpart. Bosworth argues against that assumption, pointing to “The Favourite,” a female-led film with a “bold feminist stroke.” It scored 10 Oscar nominations and made $76 million at the box office to date.
“There’s this misconception of women at the forefront of a movie, that that’s just a catastrophe, that’s never going to succeed, that it will be a box office failure. And we’re seeing time and time again, that that’s just not the case,” she says. “I never would have expected that for the 20 years i’ve been working I’ve heard we have to cast a male first, and now, I’m hearing so much in the world of, ‘We’re looking for female-forward material,’ ‘We’re looking for women-led pieces,’ and that’s very, very exciting.”
Along with She Directed, Bosworth also calls Time’s Up “an absolute game changer,” and says it’s taught even an industry veteran like her a thing or two.
“It’s the smaller things that I think we also need to be mindful of, that we need to improve, like thinking about casting things equally or … you’ll read parts and think, ‘Well, this could be a male or female role,’ so it’s not so gender specific,” she says. “[We should] really start thinking about things with more equality in that way and be very mindful about diversity and gender equality. I think it’s been an incredible movement that way. It’s opened my eyes, and I’ve seen quite a bit.”
The She Directed campaign kicks off Feb. 22, at the 12th annual Women in Film Oscar Nominees Party in Los Angeles. Film submissions for the contest will be accepted through July 7.