Just Make Better Movies For Women.
Today, comedy writer, Sam Bain, revealed in an essay for The Guardian – that Peep Show is going to get a US remake. Not only is the setting going to be different in the new Peep Show; it’s also going to have two female leads, in place of David Mitchell and Robert Webb’s Mark and Jez.
In the rest of the essay, the TV and film writer talks about the need for diversity in comedy and expresses regret at the lack of it in some of his previous projects. “People sometimes ask if I look at my earlier work differently now – whether my shows would have been better if they had been more diverse,” he writes.
Bain also stresses the importance of a female writer, saying: “Ultimately, the best way of building gender inclusivity into scripts is to get women to write them. I can’t wait to find out what sick and twisted bullshit goes on inside the minds of a pair of female losers.” Accordingly, the writing for the new Peep Show will be led by Karey Dornetto (of Portlandia, Community, South Park, and Arrested Development).
While it’s nice that Hollywood now believes that women can bring in box office bucks too, this all-female remake trend really isn’t doing women any favours.
Now don't get me wrong - yes, we’re seeing a bunch of extremely talented women lead big-budget movies and TV show, which is great, but by putting them in a remake they’re being set up to fail from the very beginning. Convincing Hollywood that women can lead a sell-out movie has been an exhausting uphill battle, which is still far from won. Yet when the Ocean's 8 remake gets mediocre reviews or the all-female cast of Ghostbusters makes an estimated $70 million loss at the box office, their failure fell on the feet of the female stars.
If you weren't familiar with the death of female directors or disparity in male and female pay in Hollywood, you'd be forgiven for thinking we had conquered sexism with these reboots, but is something more sinister going on?
We're living in a #MeToo era, one where being a feminist isn't a stereotype - it's a movement. Marketers are more than aware of the fact that female empowerment is selling t-shirts, albums, books and - therefore - cinema tickets. But to me, dragging up old classics and giving them an all-female cast is at best a patronising gesture towards equality and at worst, cynical commercialism dressed up as female empowerment.
Erasing men from films does nothing for genuine representation, especially when the strings are all still being pulled by men out of sight. Despite their feminist cheerleading, all of the aforementioned reboots were directed by men. A fact that is hardly shocking given the fact that for every female director that exists, there are 24 male directors for every female equivalent.
Maybe the problem here isn’t the female cast, nor is it male directors but actually Hollywood’s incapability of creating anything original. Remakes are seen as the ‘safe’ option, even though we as an audience are getting seriously tired of them. Yet, Hollywood is terrified of spending millions on anything that doesn’t already have brand recognition. Unless it’s a remake, sequel or adaptation – then Hollywood won't risk it.
Give actresses a chance, Hollywood. Make female-heavy shows in their own right rather than remakes that are set up to fail.