Seemingly having learned nothing from the widespread eye-rolling elicited by her last few attempts to garner credibility by playing the ‘gender discrimination’ card, Elizabeth Banks has once again raised the claim that she finds herself at a constant disadvantage in Hollywood because of her gender.
Banks revisited this tired claim during a recent interview given to Yahoo! Entertainment’s Kevin Polowy in promotion of her upcoming directorial feature, Cocaine Bear.
Elizabeth Banks pays loving tribute to Ray Liotta. Says she'd been told that as a female action director, male actors might not follow her.
But Ray "blessed this movie and he trusted me as a director… He gave me the confidence to know that I can direct anybody doing anything.” pic.twitter.com/FGHhLbX47r
— Kevin Polowy (@djkevlar) February 22, 2023
At one point asked by Polowy about for her thoughts on “working with the late great Ray Liotta”, who appears in the film posthumously as the drug kingpin Syd Dentwood, Banks replied, “He was really excited to do it. He came very joyfully to this project. Very game. Actually, after he read the script, he asked for more jokes.”
“I knew Ray a little bit from a project we’d done a decade ago,” she then recalled, making a nod to their time working together on 2011’s The Details, “and I knew, first of all, what a consummate professional he was, that he was gonna come to set and he was going to be ready, which he was.”
“And that he was going to commit to the bit,” the Power Rangers (2017) star added. “I mean, some crazy things happened to Ray Liotta in this movie. I don’t want to give anything away, but he was fully committed to that stuff from minute one. Everything from the wig he wore to the clothes, he was just so game.”
Using this moment to slightly pivot the topic of the conversation, Banks then asserted, “I mean, I’m just so grateful that he blessed this movie – that he trusted me as a director.”
To this end, she explained, “I wanted to make a big [film], this has a lot of action and CGI, and it’s a very muscular, masculine kind of a project, and I’ve been told by people [in Hollywood], ‘I don’t know if you can direct those things because I don’t know if male actors will follow you.’”
“And I say to that, ‘When Henry Hill [Liotta’s character in Goodfellas] follows you, you can make anything you want,'” the director ultimately declared. “So that was the gift that Ray gave to me. He gave me the confidence to know that I can direct anybody doing anything.”
As noted above, this is far from the first time Banks has attempted to promote her work by banking on identity politics.
Speaking to the Herald Sun in 2019 ahead of the premiere of her then-upcoming Charlie’s Angels reboot, the director warned that “if this movie doesn’t make money it reinforces a stereotype in Hollywood that men don’t go see women do action movies.”
“They’ll go and see a comic book movie with Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel because that’s a male genre,” she said. “So even though those are movies about women, they put them in the context of feeding the larger comic book world, so it’s all about, yes, you’re watching a Wonder Woman movie but we’re setting up three other characters or we’re setting up Justice League.”
She would even use such rhetoric to explain why her aforementioned reboot failed miserably at the box office.
Asked by The New York Times in 2022 if she had learned any lessons from the bombing of Charlie’s Angels, Banks recalled, “It was very stressful, partly because when women do things in Hollywood it becomes this story.”
“There was a story around Charlie’s Angels that I was creating some feminist manifesto,” she claimed. “I was just making an action movie. I would’ve liked to have made Mission: Impossible, but women aren’t directing Mission: Impossible. I was able to direct an action movie, frankly, because it starred women and I’m a female director, and that is the confine right now in Hollywood.”
“I wish that the movie had not been presented as just for girls, because I didn’t make it just for girls,” Banks lamented. “There was a disconnect on the marketing side of it for me.”
“I would’ve liked to have made Mission: Impossible, but women aren’t directing Mission: Impossible,” Banks told I was able to direct an action movie, frankly, because it starred women and I’m a female director, and that is the confine right now in Hollywood.”
“I wish that the movie had not been presented as just for girls, because I didn’t make it just for girls,” she lamented. “There was a disconnect on the marketing side of it for me.”
“[I had been] told by a big producer of big action movies that I couldn’t direct action, that male actors were not going to follow me,” the director then alleged. “He was flummoxed at the idea that a woman would be able to lead The Rock on a C.G.I. screen, I guess? That was said by someone with a lot of power in our industry to my face.”
Inspired by the real world exploits of one Pablo Eskobear, Cocaine Bear hits theaters on February 24th.