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Cate Blanchett on setting diversity rules for her projects

Cate Blanchett and Coco Francini talked about the lack of women and POC in Hollywood.

Cate Blanchett and Coco Francini talked about the lack of women and POC in Hollywood.

Cate Blanchett is busy at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival promoting her new film ‘The New Boy’, an Australian drama directed by Warwick Thornton.

The actress took some time to speak about ‘Mrs. America’, a series created by Blanchett’s production company Dirty Films, run by herself and producer Coco Francini.

The two women discussed their efforts to back women directors and the diversity rules they established in all their projects at the Kering Women in Motion talk at Cannes.

Working towards more diversity in new projects

“We were around the table one day, and we were like, ‘let’s just make a list, let’s make our best efforts’, and without drawing breath we suddenly had a list of 70 women who were all completely qualified capable and inspirational,” Blanchett said of finding women directors to helm all nine episodes of ‘Mrs. America’.

“I think that was so exciting, just a bunch of women making this show and going ‘let’s make our best efforts’, and then realizing just how easy it was and how lazy the industry has been and neglectful– to its detriment,” she said on the lack of women being hired to direct.

“There was a profound malaise, and a level of homogeneity to the work because the people behind the lens who were making the work were too homogenous.

“So when you get a diverse perspective–and I’m not just talking about gender and sexual orientation and cultural diversity and racial diversity, I’m talking about generational diversity–I think then the work becomes really exciting and what made ‘Mrs. America’ what it was.

“And it carried through to the crew as well,” Francini added.

“We made a rule, basically, for every single member of the crew that for every position you must interview a woman, and you must interview a person of color.

“And just pushing people toward that goal brought out all these very qualified people that they just hadn’t met before, hadn’t been pushed towards finding. So our crew was incredible, and lots of women behind the camera as well, not just the directors.

On being a woman in the film industry

“We’ve both had experiences where we walked on set and done the headcount and you wonder why you sort of slightly feel alienated and annoyed somedays,” Blanchett said on the lack of women on set.

“I realize that I’m the only woman in the cast…there at 62 men, and yep, I’m the only woman. This ratio is bad…it’s really disproportionate. And it means you’re always laughing at the same jokes. I do have a really good sense of humor, but it’s like, let’s change it up,” Blanchett said to laughs.

I look forward to the day where we don’t even need to have interviews about women in cinema,” she added.


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