Happy new year, everyone! We’ve got quite a few interesting films and TV shows to look forward to this year—Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians, and A Wrinkle in Time to name a few. Here’s hoping that this year we will see more diversity in our media, more gender parity, more empathy, and more justice for the victims who spoke out in 2017 about harassment in Hollywood.
More Accusations and a Step in the Right Direction
I know we’re all getting tired of hearing about this, but the outings of harassers continue into the new year.
Actresses Kristin Booth, Diana Bentley, Hannah Miller, and Patricia Fagan have filed separate civil lawsuits against Canadian director and actor Albert Schultz, accusing sexual harassment and/or assault over a period of 13 years. The actresses assert that Schultz harassed them on 30 separate occasions while they all worked at the Soulpepper Theater Company in Toronto from 2000 to 2013. Fagan’s statement alleges that Schultz engaged in “mocking, belittling, and bullying” of female cast members while acting as director at Soulpepper.
Paul Haggis, director of Oscar-winning Crash, has been accused by four women of sexual misconduct.
Dan Harmon, producer and writer of shows like Community and Rick and Morty, has apologized to writer Megan Ganz for “abusing my position, treating you like garbage” while she was a writer on Community. “I’m disgusted and sorry that I stained our show and your talent with my selfish, childish shit,” Harmon says in a tweet thread to Ganz.
I wish my memories were foggier. I wish there was a way to fix it. It took me years to believe in my talents again, to trust a boss when he complimented me and not cringe when he asked for my number. I was afraid to be enthusiastic, knowing it might be turned against me later.
— Megan Ganz (@meganganz) January 3, 2018
Actor Danny Masterson, most famously known for his role as Steven Hyde on That 70’s Show, has been dropped by his agency UTA in the wake of rape accusations by four women.
Unsurprisingly, reports such as these have led many women in Hollywood to put their foot down. According to the New York Times, 300 prominent actresses and female agents, writers, directors, producers, and executives have created an initiative meant to fight systemic harassment in Hollywood and the workplace in general. Called Times Up, the initiative includes creating a legal defense fund, legislation that will penalize companies that tolerate harassment, and a push to reach gender parity at studios and talent agencies.
Here’s hoping we’ll see more positive changes such as Times Up come out of what was truly a trashfire of a year.
Cool Projects from Cool People
In brighter news, we have some intriguing projects coming up!
Lakeith Stanfield has been cast in Girl in the Spider’s Web, which Sony hopes will relaunch their Girl with the Dragon Tattoo franchise. (This means recasting Lisbeth and Mikael as well, and basing the sequel on the fourth, rather than the second, book in the series.) Stanfield is set to play an NSA security expert who is tracking Lisbeth.
New Zealand writer Philippa Boyens is set to pen The Merlin Saga for Disney, which will follow Merlin in his early years before he met Arthur. Boyens was the co-writer on the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
DeWanda Wise, star of Netflix’s She’s Gotta Have It, has been cast opposite Brie Larson in Captain Marvel. Fans are crossing their fingers that she’s playing Monica Rambeau, who’s also held the mantle of Captain Marvel.
We got our first look at Nafessa Williams as Thunder, and she looks awesome.
— Black Lightning (@blacklightning) January 4, 2018
The Gifted has been renewed for a season two! Fox is still considering Bryan Singer’s status as executive producer in light of the allegations against him.
Comic writer Greg Pak launched the hashtag #AsAmCreatorRollCall in late December. It’s a great way to get an early look at upcoming shorts, shows, and comics by Asian creators.
2017 was a watershed moment for women-led films, with movies such as Wonder Woman, Beauty and the Beast, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. According to data from Box Office Madness and Box Office Mojo, it has been 59 years since films with female protagonists have swept at the box office. With Hollywood beginning to see the benefits of women-led films, here’s hoping women of color and women of other marginalized identities will have their time in the sun too.
The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism has released their annual study on diversity in the director’s chair. Unsurprisingly, we still have a long way to go, with women directing only 4% of 1,100 popular films across 11 years. You can read the whole study here.