by Jennifer Bozell
When “The New York Times” exposed Harvey Weinstein’s long record of sexual harassment and assault, it set off an avalanche of similar public accusations. Before long, everyone knew the meaning of the #MeToo. And now Hollywood is dealing with the aftermath. But how is this movement really affecting Hollywood’s TV/Film development and production?
Hollywood is taking the movement seriously at the moment. Studios and networks have put out the word that they want to work with top quality women and people of color. And it’s already affecting programming. The new NBC show “Good Girls” touches upon rape, infidelity, sexual harassment, and more…and that’s just in the pilot episode.
Even TV redos are getting the #MeToo treatment. There are a number of “Feminist Reboots” in development, such as a “Greatest American Hero” – a campy 80s show about a teacher turned superhero – with an Indian American star (“New Girl” actress Hannah Simone). In addition, the CW’s “Charmed” reboot is apparently a more feminist version than the original show.
It’s not just reboots affected by #MeToo. For TV, the traditional casting of starring roles often include an attractive white man and woman in the leading roles, and then co-starring roles often are filled by minority actors and more quirky character types. Not this year, though. There are over a dozen pilots that have black female leads alone. Even very traditional formats, like cop shows, are being cast with racial diversity in mind. Behind the camera, the #MeToo movement is also flexing its muscles. This year, 14 out of 41 broadcast TV pilots will be directed by women. Believe it or not, that’s a big increase!
With the success of “Wonder Woman,” the film industry is taking note as well. Expect to see more female driven stories, and more women in prominent roles both in-front of and behind the camera in movies going forward. Next year, Brie Larson will star in “Captain Marvel,” the first female-led feature film from Disney’s Marvel Studios.
This rebalancing might seem like common sense, given that women buy half the cinema tickets, and non-white moviegoers in North America buy more tickets per person than white ones. Bottom line: Time will tell if and how much #MeToo continues to have an impact, but for now, Hollywood is paying attention.