Movie Stars Have Heroines, Too

the brand-new season

We asked actresses, directors as well as writers with This specific fall’s films to tell us about the forerunners they admire. Tilda Swinton, Rashida Jones, Michelle Rodriguez as well as others explain in their own words.


the idea’s the rare fall film season in which features as potent a lineup of female-driven movies as This specific one — a convergence, perhaps, of fortuitous timing as well as the industry’s focus from the last year on women’s rights in initiatives like Time’s Up. nevertheless for every woman hitting her mark in front of the camera or running things behind the scenes, there are countless others whose stars haven’t been allowed to shine quite as brightly as they might have, for reasons in which are often inexplicable.

Here, in their own words, women involved in This specific season’s films praise the female colleagues they most admire — past or present, relatively unknown or famous in their own right.

Rashida Jones on … Lena Horne

Lena Horne’s screen career lasted into the 1990s. She died in 2010.CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

Olivia Wilde on … Amy Heckerling

Amy Heckerling at the Tribeca TV festival in 2017. CreditMatt Doyle/Contour, via Getty Images

Amy Heckerling directed “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “National Lampoon’s European Vacation,” “Look Who’s Talking” as well as “Clueless.” She has arguably done as much as John Hughes or Cameron Crowe to shape our adolescent perspective, as well as yet her name will be not synonymous with American teen culture, as theirs are. She changed the way we dressed, listened to music as well as spoke. You probably accidentally quoted her today. Like Nora Ephron, Amy brought progressive notions of femininity to her writing, as well as dared additional filmmakers to up their game in terms of female authenticity as well as wit. She has been a huge influence on my transition into directing, nevertheless the idea’s unlikely I’ll ever reach her level, as very few of us will ever direct in which many hits, let alone create anything as culturally defining as Heckerling has so far. As if.

Ms. Wilde will be starring in “Life Itself.”CreditIsak Tiner for The brand-new York Times

Maggie Gyllenhaal on … Sarah Polley

Sarah Polley in a scene by “Stories We Tell.”CreditRoadside Attractions

as well as there will be something distinctly feminine about her work. I’m not sure what in which means exactly, except in which the idea’s brand-new. Women are very adept at fitting themselves into as well as relating to a male narrative, a male lead character. We’ve had to; we could have been starved for art in which we could relate to otherwise. Sarah’s films don’t make me do in which. So I feel thrilled, challenged as well as easy all at once when I watch Sarah Polley’s work as a director.

Ms. Gyllenhaal will be the star as well as a producer of “The Kindergarten Teacher.”CreditClement Pascal for The brand-new York Times

Keira Knightley on Sarah Polley

Sarah Polley has an extraordinary résumé. Her acting work will be second to none. The director Isabel Coixet’s 2003 film, “My Life Without Me,” will be one of my favorite films as well as performances. I could watch Sarah’s acting work all day nevertheless the idea’s her work as a director in which I could like to see more of. Her 2007 debut feature, “Away by Her,” was extraordinary as well as earned her an Oscar nomination for best adapted screenplay. I loved her 2012 follow-up film, “Take This specific Waltz,” a uniquely female portrayal of a relationship. In her acting, directing as well as writing, she features a very personal voice as well as one I could like to hear much more of.

Ms. Knightley will be the star of “Collette.”CreditRyan Pfluger for The brand-new York Times

Regina Hall on … Fredi Washington

Fredi Washington in a dressing room circa 1940.CreditCharles “Teenie” Harris/Carnegie Museum of Art, via Getty Images

Fredi Washington, known by most for her role from the original 1934 classic “Imitation of Life,” will be a woman whose talent, courage as well as conviction I truly admire. Her passion as well as activism helped forge the way for all black Hollywood, including Josephine Baker, Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne as well as me. Thank you, Fredi Washington. You are phenomenal.

Ms. Hall will be starring in “The Hate U Give.”CreditMichael Loccisano/Getty Images

Nicole Holofcener on … Lynn Shelton

Lynn Shelton in Seattle in 2012.CreditStuart Isett for The brand-new York Times

I don’t know why more people don’t know Lynn Shelton’s movies. They’re actually not bad. She tries many different genres as well as she writes about many different things, which actually impresses me because I sometimes think I have no imagination as well as can’t write about anything except my own life. as well as she does the opposite, to great effect. One minute, in “Your Sister’s Sister,” she’s writing about a sister who’s sleeping with the boyfriend of her sister, as well as the next, in “Outside In,” the idea’s about a guy who gets out of prison as well as will be in love with his former high school teacher, which I think will be kind of brilliant.

There’s an independent movie ghetto in which sometimes we find ourselves in. Most people don’t know who I am either. I think a woman creating independent films does get put in a drawer. I’m not complaining. I like my drawer.

Ms. Holofcener will be the writer of “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”CreditAlison Rosa

Sandi Tan on … Marrie Lee

Marrie Lee in “They Call Her Cleopatra Wong.”CreditRichard Suarez

The former action queen Marrie Lee was my stepmom for almost a year when I was a little kid in Singapore, nevertheless I knew her as “Auntie Doris,” the bespectacled goofball who told the best ghost stories. Before her time with my turbulent father, as well as unbeknown to me then, Marrie had, at age 18, played the title role of the kung fu-fighting Interpol agent in “They Call Her Cleopatra Wong” (1978), an exuberant low-budget actioner by Bobby Suarez. This specific film as well as its spinoffs shot her to cult stardom in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe as well as the Middle East (lobby cards in many languages can still be found on eBay) — as well as the idea also captured the imagination of one future American auteur: Quentin Tarantino has said Uma Thurman’s character in “Kill Bill” was partly inspired by Marrie’s Cleo.

Dissatisfied with working conditions from the Philippines, Marrie left Suarez’s Manila studio as well as returned to Singapore in 1979 before they could make the proposed star vehicles “Super Woman” as well as “Queen Cobra.” This specific predated the Hong Kong action movie boom of the early ’80s in which birthed a generation of action stars, including Jackie Chan as well as Michelle Yeoh. In a business in which’s mostly about timing, Marrie had simply hit a bit too early.

When my father met Marrie, she’d already retired, at 21, by the movies as well as was managing a dance troupe called the Devil’s Angels in which toured hotel bars in feathers as well as sequins. from the late ’90s, I helped organize a revival screening of “Cleopatra Wong” (largely forgotten by then), as well as Marrie got her second wind. Invitations to festivals in Europe as well as Australia followed, nevertheless more important, her sense of her own creative destiny changed. She at This specific point wanted to make her own movies. from the past decade, working that has a largely volunteer crew in Singapore, Marrie has written, directed as well as produced two movies as well as will be at This specific point, having just recovered by a stroke, working to make a third!

Ms. Tan will be the director, writer as well as producer of “Shirkers.”CreditKimberly White/Getty Images

Jamie Lee Curtis on … Laurie Metcalf

Laurie Metcalf was nominated for an Oscar for “Lady Bird.”CreditJemal Countess/Getty Images

In 1984 I saw Laurie Metcalf do the Steppenwolf production of Lanford Wilson’s “Balm in Gilead” in brand-new York. She had a monologue in which was showstopping as well as breathtaking, as well as I remember thinking she was the finest actress I had ever seen. For years I could watch her build these characters on television in “Roseanne” as well as her brilliant work on HBO’s “Getting On” nevertheless not get the attention I felt she deserves. I am so happy in which she was recognized for her work in Greta Gerwig’s film “Lady Bird,” as well as I expect at This specific point in which she will continue to be noticed. nevertheless for years I felt in which she was unrecognized for her amazing contributions.

Ms. Curtis will be the star as well as an executive producer of “Halloween.”CreditChris Pizzello/Invision, via Associated Press

Tilda Swinton on … Kira Muratova

Kira Muratova at the Rome Film Festival in 2012.
CreditTiziana Fabi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

I wanted to just send three sentences’ worth of names:

Mai Zetterling, Wendy Toye, Margaret Tait, Binka Zhelyazkova, Larisa Shepitko, Wang Ping, Moufida Tlatli, Marion Hänsel, Barbara Kopple, Lotte Reiniger, Alison de Vere, Marzieh Meshkini, Sarah Maldoror, Dinara Asanova, Ana Mariscal, Kinuyo Tanaka, Valérie Massadian, Yuliya Solntseva, Malvina Ursianu, Cecile Tang Shu-shuen, Sai Paranjpye, Lorenza Mazzetti … for starters.

nevertheless since you ask for one:

When Kira Muratova died in June, there was no foot-long obituary from the Western newspapers. This specific masterly director of 22 films, pioneer of the complex crane maneuver, of tracking shots to give any in “Taxi Driver” a breathtaking run for its money: her epic, rebarbative, wildly chaotic, furious, visionary films have earned her a revered place from the international — intergalactic — canon for her work of 5 decades. the idea’s high time she made the idea over the wire.

Ms. Swinton will be starring in “Suspiria.”CreditVera Anderson/WireImage, via Getty Images

Michelle Rodriguez on … Kathryn Bigelow

Kathryn Bigelow last year.CreditBrittany Greeson for The brand-new York Times

Of all the wonderful women in This specific industry, I’d have to tip my hat to Kathryn Bigelow. Kathryn’s follow-through will be impeccable, as well as when I witnessed her transition by the commercial spectrum into serious storytelling, I was in awe. I appreciate “Point Break” all the way to “Zero Dark Thirty,” as they have an innate understanding of the male-driven pulse within the industry. I can’t think of another female filmmaker since Mary Pickford who could have successfully navigated the industry waters by the ’90s into the brand-new millennium with equal patience, resilience as well as creativity.

Ms. Rodriguez will be starring in “Widows.”CreditEdward Berthelot/GC Images, via Getty Images

Regina King on … Euzhan Palcy

Euzhan Palcy at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011.CreditGuillaume Collet/Gamma-Rapho, via Getty Images

Karyn Kusama on … Linda Manz

Linda Manz in “The Wanderers.”CreditOrion Pictures

The actress Linda Manz actually influenced me in my youth. She got her start playing the young girl in “Days of Heaven,” the Terrence Malick film. as well as she just had This specific incredible poetry, This specific incredible masculine voice, almost like she was a smoker for years, nevertheless she was a kid. She only actually did three films of note, as well as they were relatively from the same period: “Days of Heaven” (1978); “The Wanderers” (1979), as well as then a movie Dennis Hopper directed, “Out of the Blue” (1980). She was so distinctive, not at all typically or traditionally feminine, as well as defiantly uninterested in playing in which. as well as there was something for me, as a younger person, to see an actor who rode This specific line in some kind of limbo between female as well as male energies as well as auras. You never forget a person like in which.

Ms. Kusama directed “Destroyer.”CreditBrinson + Banks for The brand-new York Times

Nadine Labaki on … Forough Farrokhzad

Forough Farrokhzad (1935-67).Credit

The first name in which comes to mind will be Forough Farrokhzad, an Iranian filmmaker as well as poet that has a strong feminine voice whose poetry was banned after the revolution in Iran, as well as who was a true pioneer in women’s liberation as well as independence. Her documentary “The House will be Black” will be considered an essential part of the Iranian brand-new wave as well as will be a true inspiration to me. as well as I can’t help nevertheless think of a lot of additional Middle Eastern filmmakers as well as actresses who, like her, were often misunderstood, marginalized as well as sometimes even exiled by their own countries just because of their unconventional views, considered too controversial or too provocative for their time.

Ms. Labaki directed “Capernaum.”CreditSebastien Nogier/EPA, via Shutterstock

Alice Rohrwacher on … Anna Magnani

Anna Magnani with her Oscar for best actress in “The Rose Tattoo” (1955).CreditUniversal History Archive/UIG, via Getty Images

To admire Anna Magnani will be to admire a total woman, an extraordinary actress as well as, above all, an expression of “polar” femininity. Anna expressed strength as well as weakness, as well as while staying true to herself, joyfully embodied the contradictions of all in which will be feminine: hence charm as well as violence, gentleness as well as ferocity, folly as well as lucidity, courage as well as fragility.

In Italy’s early postwar years especially, she catalyzed the desires of an orphan nation, a newborn democracy looking for a mother. In neorealism as well as for the rest of her career, Anna Magnani became a reliable, thoughtful mother due to This specific young Italy recovering by the wounds of war. nevertheless she was also despairing as well as severe, alone in front of a candle waiting for her sons to return. A woman who was a symbol as well as a nest as well as a bitter smile, old yet immature. Pasolini called her “Mamma Roma” as well as the name stuck.

Ms. Rohrwacher wrote as well as directed “Happy as Lazzaro.”Creditvia Netflix

Marielle Heller on … Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda last month in Beverly Hills.CreditEmily Berl for The brand-new York Times

Not only will be Jane Fonda an incredible actress as well as hilarious, nevertheless she has done so much to advocate for women, victims of abuse as well as violence, the environment as well as humanity in general. I’ve never had the pleasure to meet her, nevertheless I imagine her to be someone who has strong morals as well as follows in which compass when creating decisions. as well as in which will be never easy. To have such a long as well as diverse career, without losing in which sense of self, will be something I aspire to. as well as her relationship with Lily Tomlin will be one of my all-time favorite things. I mean, come on.

Ms. Heller directed “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”CreditElizabeth Weinberg for The brand-new York Times

Mimi Leder on … Dorothy Arzner

Paramount recently named a building after the director Dorothy Arzner.CreditAssociated Press