Kristen Stewart says Hollywood’s self-congratulation over gender equality ‘feels phony’

<span>Kristen Stewart in Love Lies Bleeding.</span><span>Photograph: Anna Kooris/© Crack in the Earth LLC</span>
Kristen Stewart in Love Lies Bleeding.Photograph: Anna Kooris/© Crack in the Earth LLC

Kristen Stewart has chastised Hollywood’s efforts at gender equality, saying that the industry clapping itself on the back for an embrace of female film-makers “feels phony”.

Speaking to Porter magazine for the release of Love Lies Bleeding, a violent romance set in the world of female bodybuilding, Stewart said much of the high-profile greenlighting of female stories was lip service.

“[There’s a] thinking that we can check these little boxes, and then do away with the patriarchy, and how we’re all made of it,” she said. “It’s easy for them to be like, ‘Look what we’re doing. We’re making Maggie Gyllenhaal’s movie! We’re making Margot Robbie’s movie!’ And you’re like, OK, cool. You’ve chosen four.”

Stewart went on to praise Gyllenhaal’s film, The Lost Daughter, and Robbie’s Barbie, saying:

“I’m in awe of those women, I love those women [but] it feels phony. If we’re congratulating each other for broadening perspective, when we haven’t really done enough, then we stop broadening.”

Statistics would appear to support Stewart’s scepticism. A report released by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative in January showed women made no major gains in Hollywood in 2023: “Of the 116 directors evaluated in 2023, 12.1% were women.”

Founder Stacy L Smith said: “For the companies and industry members who want to believe that the director problem is fixed, it is nowhere near solved.”

Stewart spoke out about the challenges she has faced trying to finance an adaptation of Lidia Yuknavitch’s 2011 memoir, The Chronology of Water, which she hopes to direct, and which has been in the works for seven years.

“My movie is about incest and periods and a woman violently repossessing her voice and body, and it is, at times, hard to watch … but it’s gonna be a fucking thrill ride,” she said. “And I think that’s commercial, but I don’t think that I have any gauge on what that means.

“I think people would want to see that, but then … I think maybe people wanna watch movies about, like, Jesus and dogs.”