There's something funny about The Hollywood Reporter's round table of screenwriters for summer "tentpole" movies. You can tell just by looking at the picture: They are all dudes, all (apparently) white.
This aligns, more or less, with the demographic that is the chief engine of the summer blockbuster: young men, who, for now at least, live in a majority-white country. And it's consistent with precedent: A look at the top ten grossing films of 2010, topped by Iron Man 2 and Toy Story 3 shows that only one of them had a female screenwriter — The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. And even that one was trying to draw more guys. (On another note, who knew Knight And Day was such a hit? Not us.)
After the last Writer's Guild report showed that the number of women employed in writing for film had actually shrunk, to 18 percent, the union's diversity director told Women & Hollywood:
Although this is somewhat anecdotal, in conversation with women screenwriters most attribute this fact to the type of films that are being developed at the studios. The emphasis is on tentpole movies and franchises – many of which are comic book or graphic novel adaptations. Action is the main focus of these movies. While there are many women screenwriters who have written and continue to write action movies, this is often seen as the province of male writers.
The women screenwriters who have drawn recognition in Hollywood recently have done so with indie (or indie-ish) films and Oscar bait: Debra Granik and Anne Rossellini for Winter's Bone, Lisa Cholodenko (with Stuart Blumberg) on The Kids Are All Right, Nicole Holofcener with Please Give, Lena Dunham with Tiny Furniture. Each included a writer-director, too, a contrast to the, shall we call it collaborative nature of big budget films.
For what it's worth, one of the roundtablers was working with a female director — first-timer Jennifer Yu, whose background is as a designer. Then again, Kung Fu Panda 2 is a rather different affair than overseeing endless explosions on CGI, so maybe it's less of an anomaly. Still, go Yu.
Roundtable: The Writers Behind Summer's Biggest Blockbusters [Hollywood Reporter]
Earlier: Things Not Getting Better For Women In Hollywood
Image via Hollywood Reporter.