A Producer Didn't Think There Were That Many Female Directors, So Women Spoke Up

"It’s a gap that can be bridged."

The scariest thing about the horror genre? The lack of women behind the camera. In a recent interview, Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions admitted that the company is constantly working to change that but said it hasn't because there aren't a lot of female directors out there, especially those who want to do horror films.

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"We're always trying to do that," Blum told Polygon after being asked if perhaps a woman at the helm of the new Halloween movie, which stars legend Jamie Lee Curtis, would have benefitted the project. "We're not trying to do it because of recent events. We've always been trying."

In the history of Blumhouse, which has been around for 18 years (but made its first big splash in the movie industry 11 years ago with Paranormal Activity and most recently with Jordan Peele's Get Out), has never produced a horror film from a female director that was released theatrically. 

"There are not a lot of female directors period, and even less who are inclined to do horror. I'm a massive admirer of Jennifer Kent [who directed The Babadook]. I've offered her every movie we've had available. She's turned me down every time," Blum added, noting that he has had the same experience with Honeymoon director Leigh Janiak. Though Kent has yet to comment, Janiak has and confirmed what Blum had said.

As Polygon explains, studies have shown just how underrepresented female directors are in Hollywood. One report from the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative revealed that, for the 1,100 top-grossing films released between 2007 and 2017, 95.7 percent were directed by men, meaning women just directed 4.3 percent of them. Another from the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film found that women made up just 11 percent of directors for the top 250 films of 2017, meaning men directed 89 percent of them.

In response to these quotes, women — particularly female directors in the horror genre — began voicing their opinions about what Blum had said.

"Thank you everyone for calling me out on my dumb comments in that interview," Blum said in a statement on Twitter. "I made a stupid mistake. I spoke too quickly about a serious issue — an issue I am passionate about."

He went on to explain that Blumhouse's audience is more than 50 percent female, that its pool of executives is more than 50 percent female, and that some of their most popular franchises have women at the center of the story.

"But we have not done a good enough job working with female directors and it is not because they don't exist. I heard from many today," Blum added. "The way my passion came out was dumb. And for that I am sorry. I will do better."

This feels like a real apology, and the pressure is now on Blum and Blumhouse (as well as much of Hollywood, to be honest) to right this wrong. Actions speak louder than words.

(H/T: Twitter)

Cover image: guruXOX / Shutterstock.com

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