Elizabeth Banks Calls out Steven Spielberg for Lack of Female Leads, and It’s Complicated

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Elizabeth Banks made something of a serendipitous gaff this past Tuesday at the Women In Film Crystal + Lucy Awards. The Pitch Perfect actress received an award “for excellence in features,” and used her acceptance speech to call out director Steven Spielberg for his lack of films starring leading ladies. Rather, she mistakenly said that Spielberg had “never made a movie with a female lead,” and this was totally and utterly wrong. In fact, audience members were quick to remind the Power Rangers star that Spielberg directed multi-award winning film The Color Purple—starring both Oprah Winfrey and Whoopie Goldberg.

Even when called out for her mistake, Banks did not double-back at the awards ceremony about her statement. Twitter, of course, wasn’t about to let that die just yet.


Since then, though, she had publicly tweeted an apology at the well-renowned film director:

Why Spielberg Should Listen Anyway

A good effort on her part to recognize her accidental white-washing of the matter. Because here’s the thing—Spielberg probably should be called out for not making more female-centric films, without ignoring the power of The Color Purple. The director of major blockbusters like Saving Private Ryan, Jaws, and Jurassic Park could have easily placed women at the forefront of more of his films, yet he’s chosen not to. Why exactly has Spielberg failed to use women in starring roles for the 50+ films he’s directed, not to mention the 150+ movies he’s produced?

Seriously, think about it. The Terminal could have starred a female refugee. A.I. would have been just as good with a young girl-robot and a robotic lady gigalo (seriously, Jude Law’s gender did not move that plot line along). E.T. could have featured a group of girl siblings and not just the adorable toddler-sized Drew Barrymore. Or hey, you know, you can also think outside the box a la Hamilton and do a revisionist version of any of his more historically-based films (Amistad, Schindler’s List, or even Catch Me If You Can) with women in the roles men would play. He’s freaking Steven Spielberg for crying out loud. Who’s going to stop him?

C’mon, Steve. It’s 2017. You have 4 films currently in production and only one of them is based around women? We can do better than this. And you definitely could.

(Image: Twitter / @elizabethbanks)