Dame Helen Mirren says she thinks actresses should go after roles written for men.
The Academy Award-winning actress says it makes her “cross” that so many roles are given to men, reports the BBC:
“You look at a scene and it’s going to be all men around a table and you think at least half of those could have been women.”
“It’s hard to get a job as an actress,” she says, “let alone as a star but just a job – to be a working actress it’s so much more difficult than it is for men.”
The Woman in Gold star says that a huge part of the problem comes from so few extras being played by women:
“The only time that there is more women on the set as extras is a swimming pool scene and they’re all in bikinis – any swimming pool scene and suddenly it’s full of women.”
Mirren’s latest role in Eye in the Sky, sees her playing arm colonel Katherine Powell, in charge of a top secret drone operation from London.
The role was originally written for a man, but the producers – Colin Firth and Gavin Hood – changed it to a female part before offering it to Mirren.
“As opposed to saying ‘well that’s men, that’s what men do in war’…I think Gavin very astutely understood and realised putting a women [into the role] just changed the discussion,” says Mirren.
It’s not the first time an actress has made such comments.
Last year, Sandra Bullock revealed she asked her agent to find scripts with interesting male characters, which she then auditioned for herself. Last year, Bullock was cast in a role allegedly earmarked for George Clooney in Our Brand is Crisis.
Script writers have seen pressure from producers to change roles in the past- including Emily Bunt’s role in Sicario – in which she plays an FBI agent. It was revealed last year that producers had requested the role be changed to a man. Thankfully, he declined.