You don’t mess with Helen Mirren, as this cracking interview with Tina Brown at the recent Women in the World summit shows. In the 20 minute interview Mirren opened up about the outrageous sexism she has put up with over her long career, being Team Hillary and the gender pay gap.
Here are some of our favourite takeouts from the wide ranging chat.
On the gender pay gap
“Oh, forget parity! It’s just to get even half as much,” Mirren said of the gender pay gap. Mirren also pointed out that the focus on box office figures harms the fight.
“I read somewhere if a young couple is going out on a date, the boy won’t go to see the movie the girl wants to see; the girl will go to see the movie the boy wants to see. Which is why men drive the box office. Which is why the Bruce Willises and Brad Pitts of the world get far more money than the female… It’s a more complicated issue than ‘Oh, equal pay!’,”
“I’m not defending it. And I know Meryl Streep in particular has been cross about this for a long time, and so she should be – she’s a huge box office movie star and she should be paid the same amount as a male star,” said Mirren.
On women not getting the great roles
“This complaint about women’s roles – it’s very true. I used to see it on television. I’d have two pieces of paper and every time I saw a female on the screen, I’d put a mark. And every time I saw a male, I’d put a mark. Through everything – advertising, news, sport, drama, anything,” she said.
“I was like, wait a minute! We are half of the human race. Why are we not there on any level? It drives me crazy.”
On changing roles for women, and not just in Hollywood
“So people often say, ‘Oh, it’s terrible, women don’t have great roles in movies…’. I say forget that. That doesn’t matter. Change roles for women in life and as night follows day, you will find the roles for women in drama. Work on that.”
Watch a clip from the interview below: