While doing the research for this piece it became apparent that Hollywood still hasn’t recognised that gender balanced film productions are what people want – there really aren’t a lot of all or leading female cast films out there. But after the success of Star Wars with its strong female lead in December – and the money the franchise brought in for Disney – it might be time for film makers to take note of the serious female actors in the industry.
With Marvel and DC dominating the move industry with their male dominated superhero movies the girls aren’t really getting a chance, however there are a few films being released in 2016 featuring female leads that buck that trend:
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
If you’re a Jane Austen fan look away now, because someone has taken a classic and adapted it into a girl power fuelled, gore filled movie with plenty of period costume and 19th Century sensibilities thrown in there for good measure.
The Bennet sisters in this film are not the characters we know from Austen’s novel, they’re brandishing knives, shooting guns and not relinquishing their fighting skills for any man. Lily James (Sleeping Beauty) plays the infamous Elizabeth Bennet, with Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) as the formidable Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
This remake of the classic 80s movie features an all star female comedy cast, featuring Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids), Leslie Jones (Top Five), Kate McKinnon (Ted 2) and of course Sigourney Weaver (Alien).
There was some initial protest when the film was first announced from people claiming it didn’t need to be remade and that the female cast was an affront to the characters Bill Murray and the rest of the cast created. However, an all female cast remake is a breath of fresh air in Hollywood, it’s not just your standard update of a classic. By switching the genders of the protagonists it’s taking note of societal shifts and doing something amazing.
The Girl on the Train
Based on the acclaimed novel by Paula Hawkins, Emily Blunt (Sicario) is taking on the role of Rachel Watkins – the lonely, unemployed alcoholic who has an obsession with a couple she sees while riding the train every day.
Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation) will be taking on the role of the snobbish ‘other woman’ of the novel who those reading the book loved to hate and Haley Bennett will be starring as the beautiful-but-mysterious Megan who goes missing.
The 5th Wave
Another YA novel adaptation, The 5th Wave is based on a novel by Rick Yancey which tells the story of Cassie – a young girl on a mission to find her brother after an alien invasion has killed most of the world’s population and the survivors are trying to fight back.
It’s a typical ‘post apocalyptic with beautiful characters, fate of the world’ sort of affair and Chloe Moretz (Kick Ass) is at the forefront of this adaptation, typically ‘kicking ass and shooting’ as she goes. It’s a fun direction for her and the franchise should see two more films (maybe three if they decide to stretch out the last book into two parts).
The Huntsman: Winters War
Charlize Theron is back and this time she’s got Emily Blunt by her side as her formidable Ice Queen sister, as they try to control the realm and recover the Magic Mirror – only the Huntsman and his warrior girlfriend, played by Jessica Chastain, stand in their way. The female leads in this film are villains but that doesn’t make it any less exciting that actresses are the star of the show.