The most important thing to remember is that I am writing characters that actresses want to play. Okay so forget the market, forget whether the movie will ever get made, forget whether the studio believes that particular actress can open the movie, you want an actress to pick it up and say oh my god. I want to do this. Because if you don’t have that, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if suddenly Hollywood is making thousands of films about women if. You’ve gotta do your homework and you’ve gotta be working your craft and creating fully fleshed characters.
I agree, it’s about writing characters that actors wanna play. And I think that means making them complex, that means fleshing out their journeys, that means creating moments that feel real but that also allow them to showcase their emotion, their ability. For me it’s a question of making her feel really real and making her journey one that’s universal.
I’ve never gotten the note ‘make the woman more complex’, but the note that I’ve gotten that I think any screenwriter gets once is make sure the character is likeable. Now, the definition of a likeable female character, at least in my experience is different from a likeable male. There are moments in meetings where they’ve said ugh she’s just not likeable, like why did she get so angry? But there is the definition of when a female is being edgy you know. ‘A Walk on The Moon’ it was an edgy story, how do you tell a story about female adultery and keep people wanting to pay attention to the story. The notes I got on that were a real challenge, and I kept saying listen, I don’t write black and white characters, or black or white, I write gray. And I need her to be on that line and it’s okay with me if that certain parts of the movie you don’t like, it’s really okay with me! Alec Berg was talking about how you can get a note where they’re telling you how to fix something and that fix is really stupid. But you find the spirit of the note…Again it’s about complexity and sophistication but you’re gonna face those people coming and saying what a woman should be, and you have to just say thank you very much and then do what you want.