First Look At Film ‘Our Brand Is Crisis’ Flips The Script In A Big Way [WATCH]
Today, the first trailer for Our Brand Is Crisis was released, alongside a story that reveals much about the film’s production process and casting choices. The movie stars Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton, and was developed and produced by George Clooney. But the most interesting part of this movie is, in my opinion, the casting changes that led to Sandra Bullock being cast in a role originally written for George Clooney.
Apparently, as Sandra Bullock told Entertainment Weekly, the role was originally written for Clooney, but that she was excited to see if they would be interested in having a female actor play the role instead. She said, “About two and a half years ago I put out feelers saying, ‘I’m not reading anything I’m excited about. Are there any male roles out there that [the filmmakers] don’t mind switching to female?’ ”
Bullock reached out to Clooney about his project Our Brand Is Crisis, inspired by the 2005 documentary of the same name, and found that he was receptive to the change.
In the new film, Bullock plays “Calamity” Jane Bodine, a political strategist lured out of retirement to help the president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, get reelected. Bodine’s character is brilliant, assertive, cunning, and as the trailer suggests, has a growing kindness and humanity.
The release of the film was meant to coincide with the United States’s growing interest in politics and elections, seeing as our own presidential election will take place next year. But the making of this film also sheds light on another social issue.
Bullock’s statements to the press underline a big problem in Hollywood, one that was also suggested recently by Anne Hathaway, namely, sexism and ageism in the industry.
It’s a shame how few interesting, complex, dynamic, and worthwhile roles for women there are in Hollywood that an Oscar winner wasn’t reading anything she actually wanted to play. It’s also a sign of sexism that Bullock immediately thought of roles for men, and thought that she obviously could play them just as well. Why aren’t there equivalent roles written for female actors in the industry, especially those who have proven their talent and popularity? Why is no one writing roles specifically for Bullock?
Anne Hathaway also recently shed light on sexism/ageism in Hollywood (as these two often coalesce for female actors). In an interview with Glamour UK, Hathaway revealed that she is already a victim of ageism, and she’s only in her early 30s. However, she also stated that she’s aware of the other side of the coin, that the ageism she’s now experiencing was actually benefitting her 10 years ago:
“When I was in my early 20s, parts would be written for women in their 50s and I would get them. And now I’m in my early 30s, and I’m like, ‘Why did that 24-year-old get that part?’ I was that 24-year-old once. I can’t be upset about it; it’s the way things are.”
Hathaway seems content with a system that’s fit to ignore a woman over a certain age, but it’s clear that Bullock is not. Even by stating the pitfalls of the industry, Bullock—and Hathaway—have called attention to change that should happen, even in such a lucrative industry as Hollywood filmmaking.
Bullock’s action to simply “put out feelers” and initiate change could potentially have longterm benefits for other female actors in her position who find their opportunities change, lessen, or end altogether when they’ve reached a certain age. Hollywood should come to terms with the fact that more and more moviegoers want to see complex female characters written with honesty, and at every age.
Our Brand Is Crisis is set to be released on Oct. 30, 2015.