Actress Geena Davis blasted Hollywood sexism and ageism in a recent podcast interview, stating that after she had won an Oscar, directors “wanted to make sure I knew my place.”
“I had two directors — after I won the Oscar — who I had a rocky start with, because they assumed that I was going to think I was ‘all that,’” Davis said in an interview with Allison Kugel on the latest episode of the Allison Interviews podcast.
“And they wanted to make sure that I sure didn’t feel like I was all that,” she added. “Without even having met me or spent time with me or anything, they just assumed I was going to be, like, ‘Well, now nobody’s going to tell me what to do.’”
The Thelma & Louise star said that the she believes the directors “didn’t want a woman to potentially cause them any problems.”
“They wanted to make sure I knew my place,” Davis said of the directors’ motives.
During the interview, the 65-year-old actress also called out a “male actor” who she claims said she was too old to be his on-screen love interest — despite her being “20 years younger than him.”
“Once, a male actor who was making a movie said that I was too old to be his romantic interest, and I was 20 years younger than him,” Davis said. “You know what it is? Women peak in their 20s and 30s, and men peak in their 40s and 50s, as far as actors go.”
“So the male stars of the movies want to appear to be younger than they are, or they want to appeal to younger people, and so they always want a co-star who is really young,” the actress continued.
“That’s why that happens, and that’s why women don’t get cast very much after 40 and 50,” she added. “It is because they are felt to be too old to be a romantic interest.”
Davis went on to say that she was inspired to create the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media — an organization that researches gender representation in media, and advocates for more representation of women — after starring in the 1991 crime drama Thelma & Louise and witnessing people’s reactions to the film.
“It was so extreme,” she said. “It made me realize, ‘Wow, we really give women so few opportunities to feel like this after watching a movie — to be able to identify with a female character and live vicariously through them.”
After that, Davis said that she decided to “pay attention to this and try to choose roles that make women feel good,” Davis, adding that after paying closer attention to the entertainment industry, she saw “an imbalanced world” everywhere she looked.
“I saw it everywhere, in movies, and TV,” the actress said. “I found that no one else in Hollywood seemed to be recognizing what I saw. And I talked to lots and lots of creators who said, ‘No, no, no, that’s not a problem anymore. That’s been fixed.’”
But Davis apparently believed that the issue had not been fixed, and that’s when she decided to “get the data” and launch her institute, she said.
Davis is no stranger to calling out woke Hollywood. Last year, the actress blasted Hollywood for falsely flaunting its social justice bonafides while not being inclusive when it comes to providing roles for older women.
The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media also teamed up with NBCUniversal last year to expand the organization’s “Spellcheck for Bias” to analyze black, Asian, and Pacific Islander representation.