Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Patricia Arquette on Gender Equity and Narratives

Like musicians and athletes, actors have a privileged platform from which to speak good and do good.  Their renown, if drawn on sincerely, wisely and actively, can advance whatever philanthropic effort they and others are engaged in.  So it is for actress Patricia Arquette, who recently won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Boyhood.  I very much agree with her that people have already had a lot of conversation about pay equity for women and that it is time to really make something happen.

For Arquette, it happens through her medium, her art, and after nearly 30 years of acting, her renown as an Oscar winner.  To her point, Hollywood may have largely ignored the narrative of a single mother who worked her ass off to raise her children.  Movers and shakes in Tinseltown better listen, then, or else they lose sight of something that, as I mentioned in the preceding article, can make them money and let them do a social good at the same time.  Nowadays, with social media and mobile technology so freely at our disposal, there are so many ways that people are speaking to whatever moves them.  There is no excuse, therefore, for those Tinseltown titans not to listen and make something (doubly) good happen.

By the way, Richard Linklater, the genius behind the very thoughtful films Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight, is also the writer and director for Boyhood.  I am inspired by the very unlikely, very creative approach he took to making this film:

Shooting the film spanned across a 12-year period from 2002 to 2014, Boyhood depicts the adolescence of Mason Evans, Jr. (Coltrane) from ages six to eighteen as he grows up in Texas with divorced parents (Arquette and Hawke). Richard Linklater's daughter Lorelei plays Mason's sister, Samantha.

The project began filming without a completed script, with only basic plot points and the ending written initially. Linklater developed the script throughout production, writing the next year's portion of the film after rewatching the previous year's footage. He incorporated changes he saw in each actor into the script, while also allowing all major actors to participate in the writing process by incorporating their life experiences into their characters' stories.
Arquette must've felt very fortunate to have worked with Linklater, and of course vice versa, too.

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