“It’s good, but can it be about a dude?” Was basically the script notes Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve got again and again as he was pitching his latest espionage thriller Sicario.
“People were afraid [of the screenplay] because the lead was female,” Villeneuve said at the film’s press conference at Cannes. “The screenwriter [Taylor Sheridan] was asked to rewrite it several times.”
Sexism in Hollywood has been a frequent topic at the film festival’s panels, unearthing the stories that reveal just how rampant it does run. Apparently, in the case of Sicario, one female lead was one too many for most studios. Variety reports that’s when Lionsgate came along, and signed on even if Emily Blunt headlined.
You know, Lionsgate, maker of that chick-fronted action franchise The Hunger Games? Weirdly, they had faith that the film’s hero could be female and still engaging to audiences.
Sicario stars Blunt as Kate Macy, a young FBI agent who joins a covert CIA operation to topple a Mexican drug boss. Unknown is if getting her period is part of the plot. But Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin do co-star, so this probably won’t be some sort of crazy estrogen fest like those other titles with female FBI agents, Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and The X-Files.
Sicario makes its world premiere at Cannes today. A theatrical release will follow in the U.S. on September 18th.