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‘Charlie’s Angels’ Director Elizabeth Banks on Living Up to Franchise’s Legacy: ‘It’s a Lot of Pressure’

Is Elizabeth Banks ready for the world to experience “Charlie’s Angels”?

“It’s a lot of pressure,” Banks told Variety at Monday’s premiere of the film in Los Angeles. “It’s very scary. I’ve seen the movie with an audience, and so I know the movie works, that the audience loves it and goes along on the ride.”

“It’s really funny. I think it’s very surprising for people and that was the job,” she continued. “And so I feel like my part’s done, and now it’s out of my control, which I hate.”

Until now, Banks was completely in control of the latest entry in the 40-year-old franchise about female super spies — writing, producing, starring in and directing the film. “My first memory of the ‘Angels’ was that they were professional women and they had the most incredible job,” she recalled. 

From the original Angels — Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson, Cheryl Ladd and the late Farrah Fawcett — to the stars of the 2000s-set films — Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore (who is credited as an executive producer on this film) — the super spies have become feminist icons, giving the new stars a lot to live up to. Ella Balinska, who stars as Jane, shared how important it was to have the support of those who came before her.

“It’s an incredible legacy to build on,” Balinksa told Variety. “They inspired us to do what they do, and I guess we could turn that around and hopefully say that all the people watching this can be inspired by what we do. And if we’ve done that, then I can sleep happy.”

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Balinska walked the purple carpet with fellow Angels Kristen Stewart and Naomi Scott at the Regency Village Theatre in Westwood, posing with “RuPaul’s Drag Race” stars Nina West, Peppermint and Farrah Moan, who dressed in tribute to the original icons.

“Seeing women being called to take charge and be the lead was so important,” West said of the impact of Angels past and present. “It so obviously continues to be a message that really has to be nailed home and reminded that women deserve a seat at the table and we all deserve a seat at the table.”

Farrah Moan added, “[The show] let me express my own femininity within my own self and feel powerful in that way. So if I, as a non-binary femme-identifying person, can find power in [these] women, then it’s even better for cisgender women that might not feel as powerful … we get to literally show women that it is the power within you that can kick any man’s ass.”

Noah Centineo, who plays Balinska’s love interest in the movie, also shared the importance of the film from the other end of the gender spectrum.

“To be part of a film that’s breaking the frontier of women empowerment, supporting and growing it exponentially from where the other films and the TV show left off, I mean, I’d be a fool to say no [to the role],” Centineo said. “And the 8-year-old that wanted to be an actor is over the moon… It’s the first time I’ll see myself, like, on the big screen. And just to be involved with these three extremely talented women and Elizabeth Banks, it’s just a huge, huge mile marker for me.”

“Charlie’s Angels” hits theaters on Nov. 15.

Naomi Scott, Peppermint, Kristen Stewart, Nina West, Ella Balinska and Farrah Moan'Charlie's Angels' film premiere, Arrivals, Regency Village Theatre, Los Angeles, USA - 11 Nov 2019
CREDIT: Michael Buckner/Variety/Shutterstock

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