Geena Davis: There are few Hollywood opportunities for women of colour
Geena Davis has complained there are too "few opportunities" for "women of colour" in Hollywood.
Following the controversy surrounding the lack of diversity in the nominations at this year's Academy Awards, the 60-year-old actress has called out the film industry in America for not creating worthwhile roles for non-white actresses.
In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, she said: "There are so few opportunities for women of colour that they barely register in the research (into the numbers of women in film and TV). We are doing a bad job with women and a horrible job with women of colour. There are female actors nominated for the Oscars because we divide by gender - if it were one category for best performance, we would have a really hard time. But the Oscars are emblematic of a deep-seated problem - really, it's about the product being put out by Hollywood. Most profoundly, it's what is made that needs to change ... People are unaware of the extent of their bias - it's unconscious. Whether it's about diversity or women, people think they are operating in an egalitarian way. But it's also because the people making the decisions are, for the most part, white males. And you pick up stories about people who look like you, you cast people who look like you."
The 'Thelma and Louise' star - who created the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media to highlight the gender imbalance in films and TV shows aimed at children - does believe that things are improving regarding the depiction of women on the big screen.
Geena insists the casting of Daisy Ridley as one of the lead characters in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and the response from audiences shows that people are willing to accept women driving the plot of blockbusters.
She said: "From the very beginning, we train children to have unconscious gender bias. Even in kids' movies there are fewer female characters. And the female characters that are there are very often valued for their looks, and don't have the same kind of aspirations and goals and dreams (as the male characters) ... Disney has shown that you can have blockbuster movies with female leads. Witness 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens', the lead character is female, so if there was ever a time to retire the idea that men and boys don't want to watch women and girls ... You can't say that again."