Their Finest interview: Bill Nighy slams 'completely ludicrous' Hollywood sexism (exclusive)

Tom Butler
Senior Editor

‘Their Finest’ star Bill Nighy has slammed Hollywood sexism calling discrimination based on gender “barmy”.

The 67-year-old ‘Love Actually’ star plays Ambrose Hilliard, a past-his-best actor with outmoded views, in Lone Scherfig’s new Blitz-era drama. Ambrose is initially sceptical about working with a female screenwriter, played by Gemma Arterton, something the actor can’t understand in real life.

“The idea that you’re disqualified, or that your genitalia disqualifies you or recommends you for any job, particularly film directing, is completely obviously, and completely ludicrously, barmy,” Nighy told Yahoo Movies.

“The sooner it’s redressed, the better.”

Bill Nighy’s Ambrose Hilliard takes umbrage at being given direction by Gemma Arterton’s Catrin Cole (Lionsgate)

Nighy’s comment come off the back of a recent study that showed just 13.6% of the 2,591 films made in the UK between 2005 and 2014 were directed by women. In Hollywood, the statistics are even more shocking. Just 7% of 2016’s mainstream movie output was directed by female filmmakers, which has led to legal action against the industry from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

In ‘Their Finest’, an adaptation of Lissa Evans’ 2009 novel ‘Their Finest Hour and a Half’, Nighy’s character eventually warms to Gemma Arterton’s Welsh screenwriter after she shamelessly appeals to his vanity. He’s initially uncomfortable with not being offered the romantic lead in a new patriotic war movie, but is soon convinced of the gravitas associated with playing the drunken uncle role.

Nighy himself promises he’s not as narcissistic in person.

Gemma Arteron plays determind Welsh scribe Catrin Cole in the WW2 drama opposite Nighy (Lionsgate)

“You have to make a transition [as an older actor] from those [roles] where you’re sort of eligible, and then you’re sort of not in movie terms. You have to make that crossover to playing older roles, and you’re just grateful that it’s happened.

“I know play grandfathers, I now have movie grandchildren so I know where I stand.”

‘Their Finest’ arrives in cinemas on Friday, 21 April. Watch a trailer below.

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