Natalie Portman Insists On Female Director For Ruth Bader Ginsburg Biopic, So She Is Definitely The Right Feminist For This Job
Did you wake up this morning not liking Natalie Portman? Allow me to correct you from the incredibly wrong path you are traveling through this life. As we all know by now, Portman is set to play Ruth Bader Ginsburg in an upcoming biopic about the phenomenally amazing icon who made Times 100 Most Influential People list. (Second female justice on the Supreme Court, first Jewish justice, advocate for women's rights, NBD, NBD.) However, negotiations were delayed for a while, and the alleged reasons for that delay will convince you utterly that Portman is the right woman for this role. According to Ginsburg herself at an American Constitution Society conventional panel on Saturday, Portman wanted a female director for the biopic — and she was willing to hold up any and all production to get her way on this. There are tears in my eyes right now, you guys.
"Natalie Portman came to talk to me about [the film landing a female director], and we had a very good conversation. And one thing, interesting, that she insisted on, it held up the project for a while," said Ginsburg, according to MSNBC. "She said, 'I want the director to be a woman. There are not enough women in this industry. There are many talented out there.' And now they do have a woman director." I would like to repeat this again for those who can't hear me so well in the back: Portman insisted that the Ginsburg biopic she is starring in have a female director as well, that her biopic about an advocate of women's rights and a feminist icon be directed by a woman, and she won. About how long will it take Hollywood to make a Portman biopic?
Because Portman is very, very right, and it's been said time and time again. Despite all of the talented actresses out there, there are a limited number of meaty roles for women in Hollywood — especially women of color. And, even with the healthy amount of actresses out there in the world, there are an even more limited amount of women working behind the scenes, working as producers, filmmakers, directors, and the like. The gender disparity in Hollywood is one of the most insidious parts of the glitz and glamour, and, every time someone rolls their eyes and says we don't need feminism anymore, I am forced to point to things like #AskHerMore and the fact that only 16 percent of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors are women.
From the fact that Portman's two upcoming roles are of two incredibly strong women and icons — RBG and Jackie Kennedy — and the fact that she is making a point of standing for the inclusion of more women in Hollywood, it's clear that the advocacy of women's rights is something that is close to her heart. And it's not the first time she has spoken out on the subject of feminism, either. In 2013, Portman was quoted as saying, "I don't think that's necessarily feminist to see women like we see men in movies. Just having a range of different ways women can be — whether it's weak and strong, just being human and being real, and not just being some fantasy of a male writer — is more feminist than 'she knows how to do kung fu.'"
We don't have word from Portman herself as to whether or not that was the true reason that negotiations of the role took so long, or if she was truly so instrumental in ensuring that the biopic had a female director, but I'm willing to believe Ginsburg for two reasons. First of all, she's Ruth Bader Ginsburg. If she told me the sky was purple, I would believe her without even checking. But, second of all, Ginsburg wouldn't paint Portman as such an advocate for women's rights if it wasn't an honor that was thoroughly deserved, because RBG more than anyone knows what it is to fight for what you believe in despite all logic and all of society telling you it would be easier to just accept things as they are. If there are any lingering doubts in anyone's mind that Portman is the right actress to portray Ginsburg on screen, then let this anecdote from the woman herself dispel those doubts.
I don't know about you, but I am officially 10 times more excited for this biopic than I was before. It's about a strong female icon, starring a strong female actress, and directed by a strong female director (Marielle Heller is currently in talks, anyway). Praise hands.
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