Lena Dunham at SXSW [Getty]
It’s a show all about its namesake - Girls - so how come it’s the men who are, yet again, racing ahead in the career stakes? As Adam Driver, who plays Hannah Hovarth’s boyfriend in the hit show, jets off into Hollywood, Lena Dunham says it’s Hollywood’s long-debated sexist attitude towards women that is holding the women back. And she’s pretty disgruntled about it.
As she led the keynote lecture at the SXSW film festival on Monday, Lena pitted male and female members of her hit show Girls against each other, comparing their successes since the launch of the show.
“Our male lead, Adam Driver, has had a bang-up year in movies, which could not be more deserved,” Lena said. “Because he is a ferocious genius with an incredible work ethic and I have learnt so much from him. But the girls are still waiting patiently for the parts that are going to honour their intelligence and their ability.”
Adam Driver, since appearing in Girls, has landed numerous Hollywood appearances. In 2013, he appeared in Bluebird and The F Word, took the starring role in Tracks, starred alongside Justin Timberlake in Inside Llewyn Davis and is now set to star alongside Tina Fey and Jason Bateman in next year’s film adaptation of Jonathan Tropper’s novel This Is Where I Leave You. And that’s beside the fact he’ll also play Star Wars’ latest villain in Star Wars: Episode VII. Yeah.
Lena Dunham with Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet and Adam Driver at the Golden Globes [Getty]
Meanwhile the female stars of Girls are being quickly left behind. According to Lena, unlike Adam, they are being offered roles which are painfully lacking in variety - the ‘ditzy’ girl, the ‘American sweetheart’ and many other tiresome, overplayed roles for women in Hollywood. It’s not only frustrating for actresses keen to extend their repertoire and prove they can be more than just ‘cute’, but also for the viewers.
Lena returned to the Texas SXSW festival to address the issue five years after she took her first feature film, Creative Non-Fiction there, and a year later, Tiny Furniture. She says that it’s a special place for her as it is where her career as an adult filmmaker really started.
“The world is ready to see Adam as a million different men, playing good guys and bad guys and sweet guys and scary guys,” Lena continued. “The world is ready to see Adam do all that, it’s not ready to see Allison Williams or Zosia Mamet or Jemima Kirke stretch their legs in the same variety of diverse roles. Allison is relegated to all-American sweethearts, Zosia is asked to play more flight nudnicks, and even though both are capable of so much, they are not asked to do it. And this is not a knock on Adam’s talent which is utterly boundless, and he is exactly the actor who should be doing all this. It is a knock on a world where women are typecast and men can play villains, lotharios and nerds in one calendar year. Something has to change, and I’m trying.”
We're with you, Lena. But if you need any more proof, just take a look at the trailers starring Adam below. As for the ladies, we can only hope that one day we’ll have something fun to show you…
By Jane Mulkerrins and Zoe Beaty