LOS ANGELES • “No one wants to hear women’s stories. If you want to make a film, you’ve got to write about a man.”
That is only one of many sexist strains pissed off Heather Graham stated she heard in actual life and used as fodder for her new movie, Half Magic, her first as a writer-director, by which she additionally stars.
The romantic comedy launched within the United States final Friday is about ladies who battle misogyny in Hollywood with witchcraft.
Graham performs a growth assistant (aka, “D-girl”) named Honey who is fed up with sexism. Her misogynist boyfriend and boss, an motion star, is performed by Chris D’Elia.
He is given “all the lines people said to me”, stated Graham, 48, one of many first actresses to share her #MeToo story within the wake of the revelations about Harvey Weinstein, printed by The New York Times and The New Yorker, within the fall.
D’Elia’s character relies on nobody particularly, although, she stated.
“He’s a composite of a guy I dated who’s a director and a director I worked with who I didn’t date and just entitled male Hollywood action stars I’ve met,” she stated.
When requested if one other of her boorish on-screen boss’ zingers – “Your breasts are too big, they make you look dumb” – was additionally mined from private expertise, she nodded.
“We get a lot of mixed messages from the culture,” she stated.
“One message is all that matters is your looks, and you’re judged on that – you’re supposed to be sexy. On the other hand, your sexuality is judged in a negative way.”
Graham is aware of this double bind intimately, having been cited on more and more antique-seeming lists similar to People’s 50 Most Beautiful People and FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women within the World.
Her best-known roles, together with Rollergirl in Boogie Nights (1997), Felicity Shagwell in Austin Powers (1999) and Jade in The Hangover (2009), are all extremely sexualised ladies.
Like Honey, Graham needed to study to “break out of her sexist world to make her women’s movie”, she stated.
In search of meatier roles, she employed a producing companion to assist develop female-driven materials. However, she stated, “people kept telling me nobody cares about women’s stories”.
Fed up, she wrote a humorous fictional script, incorporating witchcraft into its plot.
The title, Half Magic, is a nod to a e book of the identical identify by Edward Eager, her favorite as a woman.
Graham, who has been practising meditation since director David Lynch launched her to it on the set of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) when she was 21, needed to take deep breaths when her first backer fell by way of.
About a 12 months later, she found a champion in Bill Sheinberg, a producer who stepped in to rescue the undertaking.
“There are men who really want to empower women,” she stated.
“All the men getting fired over the past several months, there’s a lot of men making those decisions. The idea that that kind of domineering, sexist guy that used to be so celebrated is now becoming outdated and uncool, I think that’s amazing culturally, because that’s more powerful than telling someone, ‘Don’t act like a jerk.'”
And when all else fails, just a few amulets and runes?
“As a woman, sometimes I feel disempowered in this society,” Graham stated, explaining her curiosity within the occult.
“To be a witch appears to me to be the alternative of that. Witches are highly effective and smart and misunderstood.
“I think of femininity that way because femininity is very powerful, but sometimes it’s misunderstood and seen as weak. I think we, as women, are much more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. For us to see the power we have is the next step.”