Two weeks ago, director Lexi Alexander explained to Fast Company why she wasn’t interested in helming the new Wonder Woman film. As director of the cult favorite Marvel’s Punisher: War Zone, it is not surprising her name is thrown out by fans when talking about a female-directed superheroine movie. Alexander doesn’t want the job, and her response went wide across media. I even weighed in on the latest Assembly of Geeks, noting that her answer suggests she doesn’t have it in her to be the superheroine Wonder Woman needs. I want to add here: that is okay. Alexander is still a heroine in my book, but whoever makes this movie is going to have to take a leap of faith and be willing to defy all odds, including a horde of villainous thugs… I mean, corporate bigwigs and opinionated fans.
The entire interview is like watching Alexander in a glass box – glass ceiling doesn’t do her frustration justice – and beating her martial arts trained fists against it. After Mark Ellis of Schmoes Know podcast voiced his thoughts on her Fast Company interview, Alexander took the opportunity to come on their show and elaborate. What happens is a frank and honest discussion about the realities of being a female director in Hollywood. Co-host Kristian Harloff voiced the sound reasoning behind some of specific instances Alexander brought up, but that only further served to illustrate how the industry justifies each time a man is hired. The female co-hosts Tiffany Smith and Alicia Malone, who talked about the Episode VII gender swap possibility back in June, pushed back on the excuses during the post interview wrap-up that covers gender dynamics. The question was posed, is Alexander labeled as difficult when her male equivalent might be dubbed forthright or commanding?
Interestingly, Alexander did not hesitate when asked about Star Wars, stating those stories are mythology. She also struggles momentarily before explaining how Star Wars isn’t a possibility for directors like her, who aren’t on what she called the “lists.” Of course, it is widely known that young up-and-comer directors are getting shots at Star Wars. So far they are all white and male. In major genre movies, we are even seeing first time directors being given the nod, with Roberto Orci being passed the baton on Star Trek 3. If Star Wars truly is the myth for everyone, it says something when powerful women such as Alexander feel like it isn’t a brass ring she can reach for.
You can read a transcript of the Alexander’s thoughts on Wonder Woman and Star Wars, but I highly encourage you watch the entire discussion on the state of Hollywood, starting at the 30 minute mark. It’s quite possible there were cracks left on that glass box when she was done.
Earlier this year, Alexander wrote on the topic of diversity in directing for IndieWire.
Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.