Jessica Chastain made waves over the weekend when speaking out about the “disturbing” trend of how women are depicted in film.
The 40-year-old actress — who has previously spoken out about the Hollywood wage gap in her own efforts to achieve equal pay with her male counterparts — spoke candidly about the problem she saw while watching films as a jury member at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.
“This is the first time I’ve watched 20 films in 10 days,” the two-time Oscar nominee explained at a press conference. “I love movies, and the one thing I really took away from this experience is how the world views women from the female characters that I saw represented.”
“It was quite disturbing, to be honest,” she remarked. “There are some exceptions, I will say. But for the most part, I was surprised with the representation of female characters on screen in these films.”
Chastain then called for the inclusion of “more female storytellers” — which she encouraged would lead to the depiction of “the women that I recognize in my day-to-day life – ones that are proactive, have their own agencies, don’t just react to the men around them — they have their own point of view.”
Her comments resonated with some of Hollywood’s biggest female actors and directors, who took to social media to stand by the star and for the cause.
“Say that, @jes_chastain,” Selma director Ava DuVernay wrote in one of the most popular tweets of the video.
America Ferrara wrote, “It takes courage to speak truth to power. Thank you @jes_chastain for speaking truth and representing the voices of millions!”
“YES. YESSSSSS,” added Debra Messing. “Thank you for using you voice so powerfully and effectively.”
For full coverage of the Cannes Film Festival, including the biggest stars and best red carpet moments, check out people.com/cannes-film-festival
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Chastain’s words came following Sofia Coppola’s best director win for The Beguiled — only the second woman to win the prize in the festival’s 70-year history. The first? Russian director Yuliya Solnteva, who won for 1961’s Chronicle of Flaming Years.