Charlie’s Angels director Elizabeth Banks addresses lack of female-led films

By Lucy Mapstone, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Hollywood star Elizabeth Banks has said she only recently realised how “rare” it was to have an action film with three female leads.

She said the only other releases like it were the previous versions of the popular franchise, including the original TV series and films.

Banks directed and stars in the reboot of Charlie’s Angels, which sees Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska play the next generation of angels.

She told the PA news agency: “It’s so rare to see anything fronted by one woman, let alone three women, so that was really exciting, that we were going to get to tell a story about three women working together.”

The Hunger Games and Pitch Perfect actress added: “I didn’t really understand how rare it was until now I’m talking to all of you and thinking about, ‘Are there other models for this movie?’ And there really aren’t.

“The other models for this movie are the other versions of Charlie’s Angels.”

Asked why it is still uncommon to see three female leads in 2019, Banks said: “I don’t know, you’ll have to ask the people in charge.”

She added: “It wouldn’t be as unique if it was just three dudes running around, because that’s what’s unique about it.”

Banks, who also wrote the film’s script, said: “I wanted to make an action movie and I really wanted to build on the themes of camaraderie and sisterhood that I felt worked so well in the Pitch Perfect series.”

Elizabeth Banks (Ian West/PA)

The film is a reboot of the classic 1970s TV show about the angels working for the mysterious Charles Townsend and makes reference to ways women can be overlooked and underestimated and are not perceived as threats.

Banks, who made her directorial feature film debut with Pitch Perfect 2 in 2015, said the original Charlie’s Angels was “so revolutionary in its day”.

She said: “The sense of girl power, female empowerment that’s in it. But really that it was always about the three of them working together; it’s always been about the chemistry of the women.”

She said the previous Charlie’s Angels film, released in 2000 starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu, “had that as well, and I think these three women also have an incredible sense of sorority and sisterhood”.

Banks added: “You know, that’s what you’re watching this movie for, to see how they’re going to work together.

“I felt that one of the opportunities here was to reintroduce the Townsend Agency and the idea of what are Charlie’s Angels to a new generation that may not know what the heck is going on.

“And also to let them understand that we’re building on a long legacy that already exists, right?

“That we are standing on the shoulders of the angels that came before us. And I think Drew’s version definitely stood on the shoulder of the television show, and here we are now 40 years later, and it really speaks to the fact that these are so few and far between.

“This is really a singular franchise where the DNA is about women who love their job.”

Banks stars as Bosley in the new film, alongside Twilight actress Stewart and British actresses Scott and Balinska.

Charlie’s Angels will be released in UK cinemas on November 29.