Captain Marvel actress Brie Larson appeared at Tina Brown’s Women in the World conference in New York where she discussed spending her privilege to make change now rather than later.
Larson spoke about the cost of taking on the role of Captain Marvel, “There’s a cost to my job. And to do a film like that is a very big cost and it means maybe losing things that were gonna be important to me. Like walking around Central Park.”
The Captain Marvel actress would then discuss female’s leading big, blockbuster movies:
“I understand film history. I know that the film industry started with majority women. It started with women filmmakers. So, this weird idea that women maybe can’t open movies, or not important to storytelling, or the female story is not high art is bogus. I don’t want for a second buy into it. I’m very grateful to help break this glass ceiling of normalizing the concept that women can also make a billion dollars because I don’t know why that was so hard to comprehend in the first place. It just seems like were humans.”
About halfway through the interview, Larson is asked about her activism in bringing more diversity into the film industry.
“I started noticing because the press days are actually for me the time when I get to talk about the movie, I don’t talk about it any other time. And I make things so they spark discussions. I don’t make them so people can be like ‘WOW! Look at your face!’ It’s like I don’t care I wish my face couldn’t be on the screen. I do it because of the content and because I want to see what it stirs in you. And because my opportunity to do that is with the press, I started noticing I was only getting select groups of people. And I was curious what it would be like to have a more intersectional diverse conversation.”
She would continue:
“I think it’s important for me to state that no one’s losing a chair. We’re just adding more chairs. That meant for me taking more time on my press days. Adding more hours to my day to make sure all those voices were in. Because I’m not trying to exclude anyone. The importance is to lift up more voices. Then it sort of spiraled from there. I realized there were so many other ways that I could do this whether it was trying to reach parity with the female to male designers that I wore. Making sure that I had people of color behind the camera as well, taking and doing photos for magazine shoots. It sort of spiraled from there into this thing where it opened this new world for me. I had such an incredible time on this press tour because of it.”
Larson previously stated she did not want to hear the opinions of 40-year-old white guys when it came to reviewing films like A Wrinkle Time. Larson would double down on those comments in an interview with Marie Claire where she stated:
“About a year ago, I started paying attention to what my press days looked like and the critics reviewing movies, and noticed it appeared to be overwhelmingly white male. So, I spoke to Dr Stacy Smith at the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, who put together a study to confirm that. Moving forward, I decided to make sure my press days were more inclusive. After speaking with you, the film critic Valerie Complex and a few other women of colour, it sounded like across the board they weren’t getting the same opportunities as others. When I talked to the facilities that weren’t providing it, they all had different excuses.”
She would later clarify her comments saying, “What I’m looking for is to bring more seats up to the table. No one is getting their chair taken away. There’s not less seats at the table, there’s just more seats at the table.”
Larson would also comment on the #MeToo movement at the Women in the World conference
“I was so grateful, so grateful for the strength and continued to be grateful for that strength because it has created this tidal wave of conversation that I don’t feel like has stopped or will stop anytime soon. Across industry changed things. It certainly changed my industry. We still of course have a long way to go, but it without a doubt is the reason why we have this historic shift is because of the bravery of the men and women who spoke up about the abuse they were experiencing.”
She would go on to discuss why she directed Netflix’s Unicorn Store
“Once again, part of my courage in doing it was not necessarily that I was like, ‘Hey everybody, like you gotta see what I can do’ I was just like, ‘We have to break these boundaries.’ And if I’m the one that’s even the one directing a film as a female and it’s bad at least it’s like ‘okay that’s over with, who’s next?’ If I have any sort of privilege, I immediately want to spend it. Whatever that currency is, I’m spending it immediately. I’m not going to hold onto it and hope that I put it into some account and it makes more money. I want to spend it because we need the change now. And I’m really not afraid of falling on my face because I’ve done it my whole life. I’m just kind of like bring it.”
What do you make of Larson’s comments? Do you think she is sincere about “adding more chairs?” What do you make of her comments about spending her privilege?