Speaking to reporters at the second series finale party for the wonderful Queen Sugar, Oprah shared one very simple method she uses for insuring that her sets are free of harassment: being picky.
Is it so truly revolutionary? Would one think that by simply being choosy about who you work with, harassment on-set and in life could be minimized? “We don’t want any assholes around us,” she said, before laying out precisely how to avoid the classic Hollywood problem of a room full of assholes and potential sexual predators intent on maintaining their power via intimidation.
“First of all starting with all-female directors,” she continued. “Ava [DuVernay] casts from the spirit of the person and looks for skill and talent. You’re casting with the very idea of surrounding yourself and when you’re looking at casting you’re looking at ‘Does this guy fit with this woman? Does this little boy fit? Could those two people have had that boy? And how do we make this family?’”
“So we’re looking at those things and not just looking at who’s gonna be the star and take the lead but looking at how does it all integrate so that it can evolve into something bigger.”
Solid advice for casting and making films that feel believable and are also safe-enough spaces for the people working behind the scenes. Imagine choosing a person for a project based not just on their “star power” and their shininess and the money behind their name. Imagine casting a movie based on talent and whether or not someone is fundamentally a good person—imagine. Oprah, as always, is right.