Why 'Goliath' Stars Maria Bello & Molly Parker Are Both Frustrated & Excited For Women In Hollywood
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen women serve men such strong, biting language on television like they do in Amazon’s new show Goliath . Not only do women on the show unapologetically go head-to-head with their male counterparts, but they challenge one another, too. In the cutthroat climate of a fictional law firm employed by a massive corporation, these women hold their own with unwavering beliefs and need to defend themselves. Stars Maria Bello and Molly Parker tell me about taking on these characters. They agree that TV has come far with female representation on screen, but still has ways to go. Hopefully their roles will lead to the endgame, as Parker puts it: “to stop having this conversation.”
Although Billy Bob Thornton is the anchor of the show as notorious, washed-up attorney Billy McBride, it’s the women around him who hold him down. “To be able to really mirror back at this loser dude [and say], ‘Get your sh*t together.’ I think that’s a very brave choice,” says Bello, who plays Billy’s ex-wife. Rather than coming off as weak, Thornton’s character understands and embraces the arguments females make. Thus, they can win.
And that doesn’t even begin to cover what these women are like in the workplace. Bello says that’s what drew her to the project. “The truth is, David Kelly, long before it was fashionable, was writing such complex, interesting lead female characters. Ally McBeal, The Practice,” she says. Goliath has eight female leads with completely different personalities, all of whom get their essence across in the pilot alone. “To be able to do that in one hour along with the men? It’s pretty incredible. I can’t remember the last show I saw something like that."
Parker agrees, yet explains her frustration with the assumption that men on TV will be more strong-willed than women. “I’m trying so hard to not be thinking about the characters I’m playing as women in given circumstances,” she explains. “We wouldn’t ask those questions if it was two men in a scene. We just wouldn’t.” Her recent experiences cause her to look at her roles as a person, not just a woman. “I want the conversation to be about the characters as human beings,” Parker says.
Much of her frustration comes from what she still sees at work on a daily basis.
“The assumptions of, ‘Well she’s a bitch because she does that’… A woman who comes in and directs and tells people what to do, there’s always people that have a hard time with that,” Parker reveals. Sadly, this is still the reality, and I know I can relate. “Women have been in this position working under a powerful man… It still proves [they] have to work twice as hard to get paid. To get respected. To get the job. It’s still the way it is,” says Parker.
Bello thinks the show is inspiration for women to view the workplace as level playing ground. “I’m rooting for young women coming up because I know what that struggle is and how that works,” she explains. “Women will be able to see themselves reflected on the screen through one or more of these characters.”
Persistent to make change in television, Parker points out how far Hollywood has truly come, looking back at shows like Happy Days.
“I was watching other day with my son, it’s so sweet, and cute, and I love it, but there’s so much of: The girls are girls and the boys are men,” Parker says. “We have really come a long way, I have to say, and yet there’s still a long way to go.”
Parker and Bello express how badly they both hope to be agents of change, perhaps without realizing they already are.
Goliath premieres October 14.
Images: Amazon (4)