Oscar-winning French star Juliette Binoche has revealed that she spoke to directors Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese over the lack of female-driven stories in their movies.
During a panel session at the Cannes film festival, “The English Patient” star recalled a conversation with Spielberg, a director she said she greatly admired, about why he rarely centers his films on female characters.
Binoche said he defended himself, reasoning that he had made “The Color Purple” in 1985. Since then, all of his films have featured male leads. The actress turned down a role in Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” that went to Laura Dern, reported the Guardian.
“Saying no to certain films is as important as saying yes, because it really defines you,” Binoche said while speaking on behalf of We Do It Together, a newly launched not-for-profit production company which aims to improve opportunities for women in Hollywood.
The actress, 52, said she had a similar conversation with Scorsese.
“He has a very feminine side of himself. But for me, he doesn’t explore it (in his work),” Binoche said of Scorsese.
Binoche said French director Olivier Assayas was more receptive to the criticism and following a conversation with her, he decided to make “Clouds of Sils Maria”.
The film played in the 2014 competition at Cannes and won Kristen Stewart a Cesar, making her the first American to be so honored.
The actress said she has always looked for movies where women have a substantial parts.
“What I’ve been seeing is that I’ve been refusing roles, instinctively, out of the need to talk about the feminine. The feminine has to have its place. It needs space, and we don’t have the space, so we have to take it,” she said.
Binoche stayed away from Hollywood despite winning an Oscar for “The English Patient” in 1997 as she was not ready to conform.
“… I never chose to live in Hollywood because I didn’t conform to a mold. American agents would sell me films to bolster my career, but I didn’t feel a connection. Staying in Europe was a way of resisting.
“I knew I had to step away from the system. Being independent is the most important thing. I think as a free
spirit, you have to be smart enough to be able to go in and then get out. Don’t belong to a system that rules your spirit,” she said.