When Rose McGowan received a casting notice for an Adam Sandler movie she laughed so hard she had to Tweet about it.
As she later told EW, “The wardrobe part was dumb enough. The part that made me laugh was where it said, ‘Make sure you read the script so you understand the context of the scene.’ [laughs] That was the part that made me laugh the hardest. I’m not trying to vilify Adam Sandler. Although someone did tell me that when he did his Netflix deal, he said, ‘I signed with Netflix because it rhymes with Wet Chicks.’ I mean, what? What in the f–k is going on? No!”
That is actually true, btw. In the official press release announcing his 4-picture deal with Netflix, Sandler legitimately joked, “I agreed to it for one reason and one reason only…Netflix rhymes with Hot Chicks.” Roll your eyes if you must, but isn’t that just Adam Sandler being Adam Sandler? He’s Netflix’s problem now.
Is McGowan overreacting? If the part you’re casting is a female character who will show off cleavage and generally be of the variety of “hot chicks” Sandler so desires then aren’t the instructions in that casting notice fairly straight-forward? In my head, I am picturing a bawdy female casting agent, likely with a raspy voice due to years of liquor and smoking, instructing any and all interested actress to be sure to “show off the girls.” Or maybe I’m just thinking of Joey’s agent from Friends. Actually, that’s entirely what I’m thinking of. Sure, it’s a bit offensive, but that’s just Hollywood, baby.
But does it have to be? McGowan further explained, “It was just so dumb. I was offended by the stupidity more than anything. I was offended by the fact that went through so many people’s hands and nobody red flagged it. This is normal to so many people. It was probably even a girl that had to type it up […] It’s just the institutional stupidity and the institutional infantilization of actresses. Like an actress isn’t going to look like her A-game. We need to remind her. My favorite part was the parenthesis: ‘push up bras encouraged.’”
Fight the power!
Yeah, here’s the thing – Hollywood has a long history of executives, actors and actresses having their Jerry Maguire moment, penning beautifully written and deeply insightful essays about the woeful state of the industry only to have those essays passed around town and mocked, sometimes costing that person their job. In McGowan’s case, her Tweet and subsequent EW interview did the trick. Her casting agency, Innovative, fired her:
Then, oddly, one of her former casting agents, Sheila Wenzel, left the agency. OMG, this is Jerry Maguire! On the way out, McGowan totally turned to everyone in her casting agency’s office and yelled, “Who’s coming with me?”, right?
Actually, Wenzel was already on her way out of Innovative, and her exit has nothing to do with McGowan, confirmed as much by the actress on Twitter. Darn. I so wanted Sheila Wenzel to be the Renee Zellweger to McGowan’s Tom Cruise.
To be fair to Innovative, their decision was probably made easier by the fact that McGowan “basically spent the last seven years going into my version of the witness relocation program” and focused on other areas of life outside of acting, and now does not know if she wants to even act anymore (and straight up told that to EW). The timing clearly looks very, very bad, though. For her part, McGowan is transitioning into directing, debuting her short film, Dawn, at the Sundance Film Festival, and prepping her feature-length debut, Pines, which she describes as an “art thriller.”
This is the story of the moment, and it gets headlines because Rose McGowan is a recognizable name, whether you know her from Scream, Jawbreaker, Charmed or any of the 48 other credits on her IMDB page. Back in November, a 24-year-old actress (Katrina Day) most people had never of before had her own way of responding to sexist casting calls: She compiled all of them on a Tumblr page (called “Some Lady Parts”), providing a concise mission statement, “Calling bullshit and cultivating selectivity. Because ‘Beautiful Girl, (non-speaking)’ just isn’t gonna cut it anymore.”
Where does she Day find these? According to Buzzfeed, they “are excerpted from sites likes ActorsAccess, Backstage, Playbill, Craiglist, and others” which are all sites actors and/or their agents have access to.
According to Day, “I’ve played the token, unnamed female characters in plays about men whose only function is to be in her underwear a bunch and serve as a projection of the playwright’s ex-girlfriend.”
“[The shortage of good roles for women] is not even an early-career problem — interesting, complex roles for women are far too scarce, period. It clearly isn’t too much to ask that good roles be written for, because those roles do exist.”
Some Lady Parts has become such a hit that Day has adapted it into a web series for YouTube. Here’s the newly released trailer: