Salma Hayek is very hopeful about the future for women in Hollywood.
“What I can tell you is that a lot more women are directing and acting and writing and producing. And there are a lot more movies made about women and for women because the audience was neglected,” the star told Variety at the premiere of her new comedy “Like a Boss“ in New York on Tuesday night. “We’re on the right path. And we’re not going to stop.”
The Oscar nominee was joined by her co-stars Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne. “Like a Boss” follows best friends Mia and Mel (Haddish and Byrne) who join forces to run their own boutique cosmetics company. When the prospect of a big buyout offer from a notorious titan of the beauty industry (Hayek) tempts them, their lifelong bond — and their business — is put in jeopardy.
“For once this is a movie that is not about a woman looking for a man or needing a man,” Hayek said. “I hope that a lot of people go to see it because the more that they see movies about women, the more that it empowers women.”
The comedy comes on the heels of a banner year in cinema that featured female protagonists in films like “Little Women” and “Captain Marvel.” As reported by Variety, there was a dramatic shift in 2019 with the percentage of female leads rising from 31% to 40% in top grossing films. According to a new study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, the historical high also saw 45% of female protagonists appearing in studio features.
In addition, major production companies are seemingly responding to pressure to promote diverse stories about women, people of color and members of the LGBTQ community. But Haddish doesn’t think the push for change should be left up to the typical decision-makers.
“It’s about us putting in the work and creating the projects and creating the opportunities in order to do those things to make it better,” Haddish told Variety. “I sit back and I listen to people talk sometimes, saying, ‘They’re not letting us; they’re not giving it to us.’ Why do we have to ask permission? Why can’t we just start putting it together? If they want to come on board with it, come on board. And if not, oh well.”
“I’m about creating an opportunity,” Haddish continued. “People say I’m loud and obnoxious, but sometimes it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil and gets things done.”
Rounding out the cast present for the festive, pink-carpet affair at the SVA Theatre were Billy Porter, Jennifer Coolidge, Karan Soni, Ryan Hansen, Jacob Latimore, Jimmy O. Yang and Caroline Arapoglou. “Like a Boss” opens nationwide on Jan. 10.