A few male directors who should consider female protagonists for future projects.

This post is not meant to shame any of the following directors, or to serve as any sort of a definitive list. These are just a few thoughts I had today about some men who are very successful making Hollywood-type films that I often enjoy, and whom I would like to see ask themselves why they feel they can’t do that with a woman for the core, central character.

*Paul Thomas Anderson: has never made a film with a female protagonist. Fascinating explorations of dark emotions need not be limited to men, PTA.

*Steven Spielberg: has not directed a film with a female protagonist in 27 years, since 1985’s The Color Purple. He had only one other before that, The Sugarland Express. How about an adventure film with a woman taking the lead, Mr. Spielberg? 27 years is a long time.

*Wes Anderson: has arguably never made a film with a female protagonist. A case can be made for Suzy as a co-protagonist in Moonrise Kingdom. I see it more as an ensemble piece (with many, many more male characters than female, as is the case in all of his films). I would love to see him do more with exploring female characters, and not just through the lens of being a male character’s crush or mother.

*Danny Boyle: has arguably never made a film with a female protagonist. Perhaps one could make an argument for co-protagonist status for Cameron Diaz’s character in A Life Less Ordinary. (I would say that McGregor’s actions/perspective most drive the film, but I haven’t seen it in a while. Shallow Grave, which I have not seen, seems to have a woman for 1 out of 3 co-protagonists.) Certainly since he has rocketed to A-list status, his focus has been on projects with male protagonists. Given his range and willingness to dabble in lots of genres, I hope he’ll branch out further.

*Martin Scorsese: has not made a film with a female protagonist in 38 years, since 1974’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. If anyone wonders why I’m not a Scorsese junkie like so many film buffs: there you go. 38 years, and he never saw a script with a female protagonist that interested him? Never heard a female-centric idea that piqued his interest? No wonder his sensibilities don’t always entrance me. Way to be a bro, Marty.

What other beloved dudes could use a reminder that women are interesting, too?

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1 Response to “A few male directors who should consider female protagonists for future projects.”


  1. 1 Brandi Sperry July 25, 2012 at 9:01 am

    I’ll add Christopher Nolan to my own list, as well, since there’s so much talk of him this week. He has never made a film with a female protagonist. Now that he’s done with his Batman epic, I think it’s time.


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