During a recent interview, Sandra Bullock shut down sexist Ocean’s 8 criticism like a pro.
Ocean’s 8 is the much-anticipated reboot of the male-dominated Ocean’s 11 franchise. The last time a major studio tried gender-swapping an iconic flick — Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters — backlash dominated headlines for years. Endless waves of vitriol were directed at the filmmaker, the studio, and the lead actors even though the reboot had a fresh plot, a modern script, better special effects, and a talented roster. Ridiculous much?
“That was unfair on a level that I can’t even not be mad about talking about,” the actress told Variety at the film’s premiere. “[The stars] literally walked into a firing squad.” AKA internet trolls, predominantly (if not exclusively) men who rejected the film just because it starred women.
Bonkers statements like “This film will [retroactively] ruin my childhood!” lurked around every corner of the web. Groups of naysayers even organized to tank ticket sales and reviews. Comedienne Leslie Jones received the most punishing wrath as the target of racist, sexist, and otherwise offensive comments. To escape the harassment, she temporarily left social media.
Bullock was forced to address the three-year-old controversy because, like Ocean’s 8, the Ghostbusters remake featured a female cast. The actress, who avoids social media, said, “[Ghostbusters] had five of the most gifted comedian actresses on the planet — I’m just gonna leave it at that. And it doesn’t just take five people to make a movie. It takes about 300, so, you know what? Let’s back off the meanness. Let’s have a year of kindness. The women are here — we’re not going anywhere. But this isn’t about just women. We like sitting at the table with men. We just want to be invited to their table as well because we like them at our table.”
Bullock’s co-star, Awkwafina, also spoke out on the gender-swap “controversy.”
“My advice for those people is just watch the movie first, ” she said. “And then go on Reddit.” Please, internet trolls in waiting: Listen to Awkwafina. If you’re going to grouse, grouse with the proper material. Maybe even wait until opening weekend? No one has to know you contributed to box office sales. Just a suggestion.
It’s crucial that stars like Bullock continue to speak out against sexism in the industry. If anything, it’s encouraging that this was a topic of conversation on the red carpet rather than, “Who are you wearing?” and “How fun was it to work with so-and-so?”
Features like the “mani-cam” (a segment that highlights stars’ manicures on the red carpet, *yawn*) have recently been replaced with more in-depth reporting about foundations like #TimesUp and the Me Too movement. Hopefully, women won’t have to answer questions like, “But what if there’s a sexist reaction to your movie?” for too much longer.
Catch Bullock, Awkwafina, Sarah Paulson, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, and other fearless femmes in theaters Thursday, June 7.
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