“Girls” star Lena Dunham took aim at Hollywood bosses during her keynote speech at the South by Southwest festival on Monday, insisting actresses are “typecast” and their talents are extremely undervalued in the industry.
The actress took the stage in Austin, Texas for a speech detailing her personal journey from her days as a babysitter to helming her Golden Globe-winning TV series.
She then turned her attention on entertainment industry executives, insisting that her female co-stars should be landing roles like her colleague Adam Driver, who is in talks to appear as a villain in the highly-anticipated “Star Wars: Episode VII.”
Dunham said, “It’s a rough scene (women in entertainment)… I think about this in relation to the cast on my show, which consists of three very talented women and also some very talented guys.
“Our male lead, Adam Driver, has had a bang-up (great) year in movies which could not be more deserved because he’s a ferocious genius with an incredible work ethic, and I’ve learned so much from him. But the girls are still waiting patiently for parts that are going to honor their intelligence and their ability.”
She continued, “The world is ready to see Adam as a million different men – playing good guys and bad guys and sweet guys and scary guys. The world is ready to see Adam do all that. It’s not ready to see (Girls stars) Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet or Jemima Kirke stretch their legs in the same variety of diverse roles.
“Allison is relegated to All-American sweetheart. Zosia is asked to play more flighty nood-nicks (bores). Even though both are capable of so much, they’re not asked to do it. And this is not a knock on Adam’s talent, which is utterly boundless and he’s exactly the actor who should be doing all this. It’s a knock on a world where women are typecast and men can play villains, Lotharios and nerds in one calendar year and something has to change and I’m trying.”
Dunham ended her speech by insisting she wants to help change the industry’s stance on women in Hollywood, adding, “I want to be of service to the causes that are dear to me and be an agent of change specifically for women and girls, and on a purely selfish level, I want to continually challenge myself to grow as an artist.”
This wasn’t Dunham’s first time at SXSW – in 2010 she won the festival’s Best Narrative Feature prize for her film, “Tiny Furniture.”
J-Connection: Lena Dunham is a Jewish actress/writer.