Headline April 13, 2016/ ''' *W O M E N 'S - S T O R I E S* '''

''' *W O M E N 'S - S T O R I E S* '''

FOR GENERATIONS and generations  -top actresses fed up with playing the adoring wife or eye candy have bemoaned-

The relative dearth of meaty roles for women  -the kind that bring Meryl Streep awards acclaim on an annual basis. 

Despite Sandra Bullock's Best Actress Oscar for  *The Blind Side*  and a world wide box-office take of nearly $5 billion, she struggled in recent years to find challenging scripts that didn't ask her to don another spacesuit for a Gravity copycat or play another  thorny-on-the-outside but goofy-on-the-inside singleton.

Where were all the great roles?  Apparently, they were sitting in Clooney's slush pile. So she asked her agents to to start sending her parts written for men. 

''I thought of it a couple years ago before i did  *The Heat*, when I was looking for comedies ,'' Bullock says on a recent morning at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, sipping tea with  *Our Brand Is Crisis* producer Heslov and director David Gordon Green:  

'I SAID,  'I want to do what Jim Carrey is doing,' I was looking for something he didn't want.''
*Consider that sentence*. 

Despite being -one of the most bankable actresses in the world, Sandra Bullock wanted to scoop up the crumbs from Carrey's banquet table. Imagine the parts women merely nominated for Oscars must be offered.

It's not just an issue of character depth; it's one of sheer volume. Among last year's  100 top-grossing films,  12  featured female protagonists. 

Of all the speaking characters,  only 30% were women, according to research from Martha Mauzen at San Diego State University, who began issuing an annual
*''Celluloid Ceiling''*  report in 1998 to lay bare Hollywood's gender gap.   

NOW 51, an age at which Hollywood generally starts relegating actresses to secondary roles such as  high school principal,  judge, or grandmother, Sandra Bullock  didn't have much to lose by approaching producers with her  flip-the-script scheme.

''I figured, What are they going to say? No? I hear no a lot. I'm used to it.''

Bullock wasn't the only one asking. On Nov, 20. Julia Roberts will star as a vengeful FBI agent in  *Secret in Their Eyes, based on an Argentine novel and subsequent film in which her character was named Ricardo.

After shaving her head to portray a military commander in  *Mad Max; Fury Road, Charles Theron is currently on talks to play assassin in  *The Gray Man*,  a role previously offered to Brad Pitt. In 2010, Angelina Jolie took the title role in  *Salt*  after Tom Cruise dropped out.

Emily Blunt's role as a federal agent fighting a Mexican drug cartel in  *Scario* is currently building Oscar buzz. But if it had been up to the producers who first considered Taylor Sheridan's screenplay, she never would have gotten a shot.

''When Taylor was shopping the script around, he was approached by one financier who said, ''It is a done deal if you just make her a guy. We will up your budget,'' Blunt says. 

''This is the sort of state of affairs when films are trying to get made with a female protagonist at the core. Taylor just kept walking out of the room, and walking out of the room, and thank God he did. 

THIS SMALL BUT SIGNIFICANT trickle of gender-blind casting comes at a cultural moment where women in a variety of industries-

*Are pushing for a change, from salary equity to paid maternity leave to an end to  ''manterruptions''  in meetings.

On issues from pay negotiations presence in boardrooms,  Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's demand that women  ''lean in''  still reverberates.

In politics,  Hillary Clinton  has simply stated what America needs now is a woman in the  White House.

If Hollywood isn't swept up in this call for parity, then perhaps it will be compelled by the dollars-and-cents argument. An analysis of the top-grossing  films of the past two decades showed that movies with two female characters-

Who talk to each other about something other than a man [known as the Bechdel Test] had earned more money, dollar for dollar, rather than those passed under such a relatively low bar.

On television, series creators like  Shonda Rhimes   {Grey's Anatomy, Scandal} and Jenji Kohan  { *Weeds*, *Orange Is the New Black*} have proved there's huge and loyal audience in women's stories.

In the end, it may be pure embarrassment that promotes change.

Jennifer Lawrence, the  top-grossing actor of 2014, recently wrote an essay on the pay gap in Hollywood, confessing that she blamed herself for not being a tougher negotiator when-

Hacked Sony emails revealed that she made less on on American Hustle than her make co-stars, Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner -or, as she puts it, 'the lucky with .....''

Since then, other actresses have come out protesting their comparatively small paychecks.

The Honour and Serving of the latest ''Operational Research'' on progress and  *entertainment* continues. Thank you all for reading and sharing and see you on the following one.

With most respectful and caring dedication to the great heroes:

Michelle Obama, Princess Diana,  Hillary Clinton, Hina Rabbani Khar, Tehmina Durrani Sajida Sultan, Merium Sultan, Khadija Khan, Carly Fiorina, Farzana Jawaid/US, Aleena Amin/US, Shahbano Imran, Ms Shahid Shakoor, Saima Faisal,  Ms Alamgir Khan-

Uzma Haider Naqvi, Ms Nusrat Hussain, Zainab Khan/Ireland, Irum Khan/UK, Ayesha Ali/ UAE, Amina Khan, Shazia Gul, Fatimah Khan, Ms W Shah,     Rabia Amjad, Safia Nadeem Iqbal,  Ayesha Naeem Khan, Sumera Saqib, Sanyia Saqib, Shabana Rumi, Noreen Iqbal.

See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society and the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Flip Time '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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