Press junkets can be a very scary space. It isn’t the kind of scary you see in an action movie; there are no supervillains, space aliens and time-sensitive threats to humanity. Instead, you have one celebrity, a dozen eager journalists and fifteen minutes on the clock. In both situations, you might hope a superhero swoops in and flies you out of the scene.
The thing that makes a press day more intimidating: looking around the room, and realizing nobody looks like you. Having experienced this as a white woman shows how far the industry still has to go. Brie Larson, star of the upcoming Captain Marvel film, has noticed too—and she’s using her superpowers to do something about it. “About a year ago, I started paying attention to what my press days looked like and the critics reviewing movies, and noticed it appeared to be overwhelmingly white male,” Larson said in her recent interview with Marie Claire. “So, I spoke to Dr. Stacy Smith at the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, who put together a study to confirm that. Moving forward, I decided to make sure my press days were more inclusive. After speaking with you, the film critic Valerie Complex and a few other women of colour, it sounded like across the board they weren’t getting the same opportunities as others. When I talked to the facilities that weren’t providing it, they all had different excuses.”
For the profile, the Oscar-winning actress handpicked Keah Brown, a disabled journalist, to be her interviewer. It’s all a part of Larson’s mission to use the “power and privileges” that come with her role to “advocate for [herself] and others”—which is something she’s been preaching for a while. Larson first spoke about the need for diverse film critics last June, when she accepted the Crystal Award at the Women in Film Crytal + Lucy Awards. She specifically referenced the lacklustre reviews of A Wrinkle Time, saying, “I don’t need a 40-year-old white dude to tell me what didn’t work about A Wrinkle in Time. It wasn’t made for him! I want to know what it meant to women of colour, biracial women, to teen women of colour, to teens that are biracial.”
“Am I saying I hate white dudes?” Larson said at the time. “No, I’m not … [but if] you make the movie that is a love letter to women of colour, there is an insanely low chance a woman of colour will have a chance to see your movie and review your movie.”
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