Geena Davis: ‘After Thelma & Louise, people said things would improve for women in film. They didn’t’
Having built a career playing strong women, the Hollywood star is taking on sexism in the film industry, with a gender equality project that will launch at this year’s London film festival
Geena Davis is tall, very tall. In her bare feet, she reaches 6ft. Today, she is wearing 5in wedge heels and towers over everyone in the near vicinity.
This is worth remarking upon not because Davis’s appearance is the most interesting thing about her – it isn’t, not by a long mark – but because it shows her willingness to occupy a space, to lay claim to it. There is an assertiveness to her physical presence. Most tall women feel the need to slouch or wear flats or somehow make themselves seem that little bit less intimidating. Davis clearly has no truck with this. As she walks across to meet me, shoulders back, smile in place, arm outstretched to shake my hand, her entire stance is one of easy confidence.
Davis has long made it her mission to ensure women occupy more space in a notoriously sexist business. The film industry has never been an equal opportunities employer. But we are meeting at a time when the plates seem to be shifting. Several actresses have recently spoken out about unequal treatment and an increasing number of films are being made with complicated, interesting female protagonists at the helm. Are we at a watershed moment?
“The women in the industry, I think, are remarkable,” Davis says cautiously. “A lot of people are becoming very comfortable about saying it’s not fair.”