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Drew Barrymore's new TV show supports women in more ways than one


Hollywood is often criticised for its lack of opportunities for women, both on and off the screen, but a number of actors are trying to change that – and Drew Barrymore is stepping up.

In front of the camera, many female stars see the pool of potential work shrinking as they age – a problem which doesn’t seem to affect men quite as much, given how often they’re celebrated as seasoned silver foxes (see every James Bond film, ever).

But it’s not just performers whose careers are limited within film and TV. It’s clear from statistics (and general obviousness) that female writers and directors find it incredibly difficult to break into the industry, illustrated by Women and Hollywood’s report that of the 100 top-grossing films of 2016, only 4% had female directors.

Which is why it’s so inspiring when the talented women of the entertainment world do what Barrymore has done and take up the mantle themselves.

Instead of waiting around for men at the head of production companies to cast women in the small number of apparently age- and gender-appropriate roles, she has created her own project and shown support for the sisterhood by creating more opportunities for other women.

Read more: It's official: women in film speak less the older they get, yet men are lauded for ageing

Barrymore, co-founder of her own production company, Flower Films, since 1995, is championing female talent in new horror TV series, Black Rose Anthology. Made up of hour-long episodes that sound nail-bitingly good, she says it will put subjects like paranoia, insanity and sexual obsession under the microscope.

The project is set to be entirely directed and written by women, with Barrymore and co-founder Nancy Juvonen taking the producing reins, while MTV’s Scream: The TV Series’s Jill Blotevogel is on board to write the pilot.

But that’s not the only reason we’re excited about it.

Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore in an early foray with the horror world, starring in Scream, 1996.

Not content with asking other women to create the series, the entire project is geared around the female perspective, bringing women into the narrative.

As Deadline reports, the show will “explore some of humanity’s deepest fears from a woman’s unique perspective”.

Read more: Revealed: the shocking extent of gender inequality in the UK film industry

Horror is a genre historically dominated by men, which is another reason why this project so fascinating. The series plans to look at many of the classic themes with vignettes about “guilt, jealousy, repression, paranoia, insanity, sexual obsession and survival through a modern and distinctly feminine lens.”

Even for those of us that aren’t fans of creepy music and pillow-covering-face scary moments, we have to admit this sounds pretty fascinating.

Career progression for women in film and TV has a long, long way to go before it becomes anything that remotely resembles equality but ventures like this and by others such as Reese Witherspoon, whose production company Hello Sunshine has been forging roles for women in the film industry since its inception in 2012, are helping to slowly close the gap. As articulated perfectly by Helen Mirren in an interview with InStyle earlier this year, “there is a pressure mounting behind a dam, and I hope that that dam is finally bursting in terms of women directors and women-led dramas.” 

Therefore we have high hopes for Black Rose Anthology inspiring other women to follow in Barrymore’s footsteps.

Images: Rex Features


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