Little-known indie filmmaker Joss Whedon — the guy who wrote Alien: Resurrection, created a show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer that hardly anyone has heard of ever, and scored a writing credit on the first Toy Story — has written and directed a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. It comes out today and most likely will not feature an Avengers post-credit sequence (although watching a wasted Tony Stark recite Shakespeare might be pretty awesome). Maybe you’re excited about Much Ado About Nothing, but, even if you’re not one of the Whedon faithful, you’ll probably love how, during a Daily Beast interview, he expressed his personal frustration with the lack of female superheroes on film.
On the eve of his Shakespeare pet project (which Whedon filmed at his home in Santa Monica using many of his friends from his past ventures), Whedon offered his take on the relative lack of female superheroes currently not crowding our multiplexes: it’s bullshit. There are plenty of great stories to be told (like maybe Whedon’s star-crossed Wonder Woman project that notably stalled), but nobody seems to have the will to put a compelling female superhero onscreen.
When asked about this glaring disparity between male and female superhero movies, Whedon explained:
Toymakers will tell you they won’t sell enough, and movie people will point to the two terrible superheroine movies that were made and say, You see? It can’t be done. It’s stupid, and I’m hoping The Hunger Games will lead to a paradigm shift. It’s frustrating to me that I don’t see anybody developing one of these movies. It actually pisses me off. My daughter watched The Avengers and was like, “My favorite characters were the Black Widow and Maria Hill,” and I thought, Yeah, of course they were. I read a beautiful thing Junot Diaz wrote: “If you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves.”
Instead of a Wonder Woman movie, we’re getting yet another Superman reboot. Rather than make that cool Ms. Marvel movie everyone’s been dying to see, we get more Spider-Man movies because the universe apparently has not reached its critical mass of Spider-Man crap (there’s a musical, for fuck’s sake — enough already).
To be absolutely fair (and there’s no real reason to, but let’s try it for fun), every movie that features an Extraordinary Invincible Badass is basically a superhero movie. Basically. So, any action movie with a female lead, i.e. Kill Bill, Resident Evil, Haywire, is a superhero movie. Those movies, however, are all rated R, and when Whedon mentions his daughter’s preferences for Black Widow and Maria Hill, he’s reminding us that by not making a big summer blockbuster Wonder Woman movie, studios are missing out on a whole contingent of willing superhero fans, young girls who will buy as much merchandise as young boys and who will run around their parents’ living rooms, lassoing lamps and smashing fragile stuff with their cardboard gauntlets.
Joss Whedon’s Passion Project [The Daily Beast]
Image via Getty, Charles Gallay