Could you imagine a woman version of Tyler Durden? What about an all female cast of No Country for Old Men?
Canadian filmmakers Ashleigh Harrington and Jeff Hammond take the answers to these questions into their own hands, and explore these concepts with their web series, The Girls On Film. The project takes on the issue of gender roles in popular films . They make a simple change reenacting scenes from modern classics: they switch the genders.
The results are surprisingly startling; the simple change showcases how we are so unused to seeing women in more demanding roles. The episodes feature many famous male centric movies such as Drive, Fight Club, and Star Trek. The intention behind The Girls On Film opens up a conversation about the roles available to men and women in mainstream films, which they achieve by replacing male protagonist’s more aggressively scenes with female actors.
That scene left me lamenting the fact that a girl Fight Club doesn’t exist (admittedly, that might not have been the first time I’ve lamented that). Hammond also agrees, telling an interviewer, “We’ve had some requests from our fightclub scene, they’d like to see the entire movie reshot with women.”
Watching their clips made me realize how few times female villians are explored in films. In fact, there is very little diversity in the roles that women are written for in general, especially women playing evil or violent characters. Ashleigh sums it up perfectly: “It might look shocking, but personally it doesnt feel that weird to be playing a violent character. There arn’t females playing the badass evil characters unless they’re hot and they want to have sex with you and then they’re gonna kill you.”
Jeff adds, “I think women can probably play anything. Its just a matter of society allowing it.”
While feedback on this series is mixed, it is important to note that they are being compared to top tier scenes. It is a hard task to take the most beloved scenes in cinema and recreated them on a small budget for youtube.
Jeff acknowledges this, stating, “The project does pose questions, and stir up some questions and I think if we could do both of those things we’ve done our job.”
Touche, Jeff. And congrats on having your project being one of the few that passes the Bechdel Test.