In late August, "Jurassic World" director Colin Trevorrow answered a question on Twitter about whether he believes he would have been hired to direct the blockbuster film if he were female.
"I want to believe that a filmmaker with both the desire and ability to make a studio blockbuster will be given an opportunity to make their case," Trevorrow tweeted in response. "I stress desire because I honestly think that’s a part of the issue. Many of the top female directors in our industry are not interested in doing a piece of studio business for its own sake. These filmmakers have clear voices and stories to tell that don’t necessarily involve superheroes or spaceships or dinosaurs.
To me, this is not a simple case of exclusion within an impenetrable corporate system. It's complex, and it includes a component that I think is rarely discussed -- very high levels of artistic and creative integrity among female directors.
Maybe this makes me naive, but as an employee of two companies run by brilliant women, I don't think I am. There is a sincere desire to correct this imbalance at the highest levels of our industry right now. And yes, it does make me feel terrible to be held up as a symbol of social injustice. I'm a person. Nobody wants to be part of the problem."
Trevorrow's comments drew a lot of criticism, with actress Jaime King tweeting him saying, "As the next director of [Star Wars] & the rad Jurassic World [Colin Trevorrow] - it's unfortunate that you believe this."
Back in May, Oscar-nominated director Lexi Alexander spoke with CBR News about the difficulties and challenges faced by female directors and expressed her desire for change in the industry. An outspoken proponent for equality in Hollywood, Alexander recently spoke with Vulture and responded to Trevorrow's comments.
"I think Colin needs to sit down in his director's chair. It's really very upsetting that he would make such a statement just to ease his guilt," Alexander told Vulture. "I understand it must be hard to realize that the playing field you are collecting all your trophies from is not a level playing field, but that doesn’t mean you can just make inaccurate statements. How about using your privilege for good and demonstrating a little integrity instead of fueling Hollywood’s big denial of this issue further? And if integrity is too much to ask, just say nothing at all."
Trevorrow's original Twitter response came not too long after an interview with the LA Times, in which he answered a similar question to the one from Twitter, but added a different sort of context.
"Obviously it’s very lopsided, and hopefully it’s going to change as time goes on," the director said. "But it hurts my feelings when I’m used as an example of white, male privilege. I know many of the female filmmakers who are being referred to in these articles. These women are being offered these kinds of movies, but they’re choosing not to make them.
"I think it makes them seem like victims to suggest that they’re not getting the opportunities and not artists who know very clearly what kind of stories they want to tell and what films they want to make. To me, that’s the reality."
From that comment, it seems Trevorrow means to say that while female directors are being given opportunities, they usually pass on the project. An example in favor of Trevorrow's viewpoint is with "Selma" director Ava Duvernay, who ultimately passed on directing "Black Panther" for Marvel Studios, although Duvernay's reasons were not for lack of interest but seemingly over creative differences.
However, in another question regarding her helming of "Punisher: War Zone," Alexander indirectly addressed this notion and the idea that female directors just aren't interested in the genres, essentially putting on blast why studios approach female directors for blockbuster projects.
"The only reason I was offered Punisher was because I had made an indie film that was rated R for violence and was filled with fight scenes. I think in industries riddled with bias, you tend to hire women only if their previous work is very masculine, which is hilarious given that this is not how male directors are chosen. I am pretty sure when Kenneth Branagh came up for 'Thor,' nobody at Marvel thought: 'Yes, that Kenneth Branagh is masculine enough to do action, just look at 'Henry V' and 'The Magic Flute.' Don’t get me wrong I'm a huge Branagh fan, I'm just trying to demonstrate how ridiculous it is that women have to be 'one of the boys' to get in on the superhero business, whereas male directors don't have to have any proof on their résumé that they can deliver hardcore action."
Obviously the entire discussion is incredibly complicated -- and change does need to occur, something that Trevorrow himself admitted following his original Twitter comment and in response to Jaime King's tweet.
"I believe that there is an imbalance in our industry that needs to change, and it will," the director stated. "If I’m muddling my point, I apologize."