Why being a 'leading lady' in the film industry is impossible
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BBC Three has released a hilarious/depressing comedy short detailing (pretty accurately) the struggles actors go through when reading for “leading lady” parts. The eclectic, award-winning cast includes Gemma Arterton, Gemma Chan, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Tom Hiddleston, Felicity Jones, Katie Leung, Stacy Martin, Wunmi Mosaku, Florence Pugh, Catherine Tate, and Anthony Welsh. This comedy short, written and directed by Jessica Swale, takes a sneak peek backstage as the cream of British acting talent step forward to audition for that dream role of the Leading Lady. This is one of those videos that makes you say, “it’s funny because it’s true”, and then cry because of how bleakly true it is. Audition rooms are terrifying anyway; there’s usually one role and hundreds of people can be seen for the same one. But then when you throw in the ridiculous expectations that big budget films (and even small budget films, and television) have of women, the minefield becomes even harder to navigate. The duplicity that women are expected to bring into audition rooms (and consequently to the big screen) isn’t a mark of good acting; it’s a mark of ridiculous expectations that no one can ever actually fully meet. Women are expected to be emotional, but also remain pretty while expressing that emotion. There are so many films starring the Single Solitary Tear Rolling Gracefully Down a Delicate Cheek. Because we can’t have people thinking that women are actually humans who ugly-cry. That would be ludicrous.
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