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Screenwriter Abi Morgan refused job because she “didn’t flirt enough”

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Harriet Hall
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Suffragette screenwriter, Abi Morgan, has revealed she once didn’t get work on a film in Hollywood because she “didn’t know how to flirt with the director enough.”

Morgan did not reveal the name of the producer who made the comments, or the film in question, but told the BBC she was “raging” after he said it, and that she felt “voiceless.”

The Iron Lady and The Hour writer, told the BBC that she doesn’t blame the producer for saying it, but that she questions “that he didn’t think I was slightly better than the size of my breasts and how I looked, really.”

On Wednesday Suffragette, a film about the struggles women faced to secure the vote in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, opened the 59th BFI London Film Festival.

Morgan says that the answer to dealing with such comments is not to react with bitterness.

“There’s no point in being bitter, because there are too many great women and too many great men in the world, certainly in the industry who have promoted and supported me and have been incredibly powerful and important in my career.”

Suffragette

Carey Mulligan as Maud in Suffragette

But what she will be doing, is “keep fighting it”.

"You have to be aware of it and keep fighting about it and don't be afraid of it. It's a good conversation,” she says.

This year’s London Film Festival is focused around bringing female directors, producers and screenwriters to the forefront, with a roster of films celebrating womanhood, which Morgan says is “Fantastic”, “and yet still only 20% of the films at the festival are directed by women,” she says.

The writer told BBC Newsbeat that casting the supporting male roles in the film proved to be difficult, with male actors not being happy with such small parts; the type of roles that female actors play the majority of the time.

“It was hard to cast the male parts because they all said the parts aren't big enough. And these men are brilliant actors, they're complex parts, but ultimately they are supporting roles."