What: A short film about just what is demanded of working actresses.
Who: Director Jessica Swale, and a cast of top British stars, including Game of Thrones leads Emilia Clarke and Lena Headey, Academy Award-winner Felicity Jones, and many more.
Why we care: Over the past year, audiences have been made painfully aware of the pernicious path some of their favorite actresses have had to navigate throughout their careers. Producers demanding sexual quid-pro-quo. Leery, grope-y co-stars. Not to mention a system built on silence. But beyond Harvey Weinstein and his ilk–and those who provided cover for them for so long–these same actresses have had to contend with another more everyday indignity: the expectation of being everything all at once.
“It’s not rocket science, darling, we’re just asking you to be thin and curvy, sexy and innocent!” a casting agent played by Catherine Tate tells her auditioner in a new short film about this very problem. Leading Lady Parts is a funny/sad depiction of what a focus-grouped, noted-to-death woman is supposed to be in films, and the seeming impossibility of an actress ever measuring up to it. The BBC short stars Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Felicity Jones, and many more as the auditioners, in roles they’ve unfortunately been training for their entire careers. Although the struggle to embody and convey what the casting directors are asking for here seems tough, the film also suggests that the female-identifying audience at home faces a form of these same expectations in everyday life. Perhaps drawing more attention to the problem will be a step toward fixing it.
Watch the full video below.