Women’s roles are vastly outnumbered by those for men in Hollywood — it’s been proven. But judging by the fall release schedule and the amazing caliber of previews featuring femme-centric storylines and starring women in ever-more-unapologetic leading roles, a sea change might well be on the way. This week seems to continue that streak, and gives us a lot to be excited about: Acclaimed director Steve McQueen is back, for one! He could have done anything to follow up the success of his incredibly significant film 12 Years A Slave, but he chose a script written by and starring women. And if that weren’t enough, we also just discovered a preview that really set the trailer park on fire, if you catch our drift:
Okay, technically this trailer is almost a month old, but it just hit our radar! Forgive us, this blockbuster season, for letting such an auspicious little morsel slip through the cracks! If you thought Sorry to Bother You or Madeline’s Madeline (or even Mandy) would be the weirdest thing you saw this year, think again: This, the debut feature from Bertrand Mandico, starts its U.S. theatrical run in just a little over a week. It looks a lot like Lars von Trier meets Guy Maddin, and seems to play a little bit like A Clockwork Orange or Lord of the Flies, with one significant distinction: All of these bad boys are actually ingénues.
That’s right! Sneers, pouts, errant tendrils of tousled locks and all, this is a cast of young women enacting what otherwise might feel like tired tropes of toxic masculinity. Is the gender-bending of the cast subversive enough to make up for that or, like Shakespeare, is it not meant to interfere with the meaning? We don’t quite know yet the answer to that, but without revealing too much of the plot, we can guarantee you that things get a whole lot weirder than this trailer would have you believe. Even if, normally, subtitles are not your friend, you may want to make an exception for this one — have you ever seen subtitles look so cool? And can we get a special edition of Tiger Beat going so we can hang some posters of these heartthrobs on our walls? Teen idols everywhere, eat your freakin’ hearts out! Anäel Snoek, who looks a bit like Liquid Sky’s Anne Carlisle, and Vimala Pons, who you may have seen in Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, are especially dreamy.
Sometimes, the mainstream gets artsy, and sometimes, artsy goes mainstream. Like Miranda July, Josephine Decker, and Sam Taylor-Johnson, director Steve McQueen is just as at home showing in a high-brow museum as he is at the multiplex. But how do you follow an Oscar, a BAFTA, and a Golden Globe? Apparently, with a heist film starring Viola (expletive redacted) Davis.
Like the dead-serious counterpart to Ocean’s 8 and its high-glam, femme-centric fun, Widows is about four women joining forces to finish their late husbands’ last job. Look, grief does funny things to people, and can also cause some serious money problems. The widows in question include Michelle Rodriguez (and it’s too early to tell if she’s playing against type), Elizabeth Debicki (who was prohibition-era badass Jordan Baker in Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby), and Cynthia Erivo (who is poised to break out this year after making the leap from theater and also starring in the upcoming Bad Times at the El Royale), and of course, the aforementioned Davis. They’re not experts or cons — they’re mothers, and they’re exhausted. But they’re also willing to do what it takes to protect themselves and their families. And their ace in the hole is a simple fact that nobody thinks they have “the balls to pull this off.” Emphasis by Ms. Davis’.
This trailer makes sure to mention Gone Girl’s Gillian Flynn as the screenwriter. Get ready for some anti-heroine antics! We can’t wait to see what kind of magic matching Flynn up with McQueen can generate. And of course, we’re stoked to see men like Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya, Robert Duvall, and Richard Gere rounding out the cast, but at the end of the day, we’re mostly just looking forward to women in four starring roles in a range of ages and types, and roles that mix the demands of drama with action, at that. Maybe, just maybe, Hollywood is finally catching up with the opportunities offered by the episodic form to actresses like Amy Adams, Elisabeth Moss, Edie Falco, Mary-Louise Parker, Rachel McAdams, and many more. Look for Widows on a movie screen near you starting in mid-November!