In spite of all the progress we've made, it's still a dark and depressing world out there for women in Hollywood, with wage gaps and everyday sexism still prevalent. Well, I'm here delivering a shining light of hope: Variety recently announced that actress and strawberry-haired angel Jessica Chastain has launched her own production company. She's to serve as president for the adorably named Freckle Films next to development executive Elise Siegel. And, with a bevy of women also at the helm of the operation, I sense that Freckle Films could mean good things for ladies in the film industry.
First of all, it should be noted that Chastain herself isn't just a powerful force in Hollywood, she's also an active and strong voice for women. Whether it's speaking out about the importance of consent or talking about keeping true to oneself, Chastain is constantly thinking about how women are viewed in the industry. But my mind specifically goes to an interview with The Wrap in which she talks about how a how important it is for female characters to have their own journeys in films — no matter how small their role is:
I don't mind if the character is a small character, but I would just like her to have a journey in the film. Sometimes the characters are just there as a prop to further the man's story. I don't mind playing a woman that is a tiny part, but how does the story affect her?
This sounds like someone who knows how important it is to have women as subjects, not objects of a film. There's no doubt in my mind that her leadership would spearhead projects that feature strong, messy, complicated, smart, and nuanced woman who have active roles when it comes to storytelling.
Then there's the fact that many of the people behind the project seem to be women. Three of the four producers are female, and even the two projects that currently have the greenlight — film adaptations of The Magicians Lie and Life and Other Near-Death Experiences — are books written by women. This makes me feel secure that more women will be getting jobs when it comes to the hiring process in these films, and that's major. It's been well documented forever that women are constantly under-represented in the film industry. In fact, according to a recent study by the Center For The Study Of Women In Television And Film, female filmmakers only make up 19 percent of Hollywood, which isn't just profoundly depressing, but also definitely why Hollywood keeps mishandling films geared to women — there simply isn't any female input behind the scenes. The more ladies working on movies, better media for girls as a whole.
And moreover, the ethos of Freckle Films seems like a big celebration of ladies celebration ladies. According to Variety, Celine Rattray, who heads Maven pictures along with Trudie Styler and Charlotte Ubben, spoke of her enthusiasm for the project:
"Trudie and I have always been great admirers of Jessica both on screen and off. Her intelligence, passion and talent are something that so naturally align with our work and mission at Maven Pictures—showcasing female talent both in front of and behind the camera. We are immensely thrilled about the opportunity to work together for many years to come."
There's just no questioning it. It looks like Freckle Films has a bright and wonderful future, both for Chastain and for all ladies, in Hollywood and otherwise. And it's about damn time.