gemma arterton catherine tate anthony welsh

Watch Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Tom Hiddleston, and More Try Out for Leading Lady Parts

This witty short film takes on gender bias in casting sessions.

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The Time’s Up movement is working to inspire change, but it has also inspired art. British actress Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace) has produced a comedic short film about the casting process called Leading Lady Parts. The short features several popular British actresses auditioning for the role only known as “leading lady.” Arterton, Catherine Tate (Doctor Who), and Anthony Welsh (Fleabag) play a trio of suits auditioning the women.

The actresses up for the role include Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Felicity Jones, Katie Leung, and many more, who are subjected to increasingly ridiculous requests from the suits, which include “sexy crying,” losing weight, taking off their clothes, smiling more, and putting on more makeup. When Gemma Chan (Humans) auditions, they ask her if she can be “more white.” The short makes fun of the absurd and unrealistic expectations of women in the film industry, a.k.a. a “thin sexy hooker virgin with boobs and hips but not big ones.”

Finally, Tom Hiddleston shows up and is immediately cast in the role. We then see that the hallway is lined with posters for fake Hiddles movies like Mary Poppins Returns, Wonder Woman, and my favorite, Lo Lo London, which features Hiddleston dancing with himself. The short was written and directed by Jessica Swale, an Olivier award-winning playwright, and the idea came out of a meeting of actresses who were discussing what they could do to support Time’s Up.

According to Arterton, “It was just women in a room, chatting—we felt everything was very serious, there were really big issues being spoken about. We felt it would be fantastic to do something light-hearted and more comical that got the message out without beating anyone over the head. There was a room filled with all these creative, beautiful women and what better way to make a difference … than all coming together and making something?”

Arterton immediately leapt at the opportunity to produce the short through her production company, Rebel Park Productions, which focuses on making female-centric content. She credits Felicity Jones with pitching the idea of a collaboration. (Well done, Jyn Erso!)

“It’s one of the best things to come out of the Time’s Up meetings for me personally: Meeting people I would never usually meet. For example, Felicity Jones. I had this meeting in my house and Felicity came and she was the one [who] suggested ‘Why don’t we do something together?’ That was a very heartening thing.”

Leading Lady Parts is the first in a series of short films that will center on gender inequality in the workplace. The films will also raise awareness for Time’s Up U.K.’s Justice and Equality Fund, which is working to end harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

(via LA Times, image: Rebel Park Productions)

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Author
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.