Female empowerment in film industry feels real for first time, says Rebecca Hall

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Actress Rebecca Hall has said female empowerment within the film industry “feels real for the first time”.

The Prestige star has been in the entertainment industry for nearly 30 years after making her on-screen debut in the TV adaptation of The Camomile Lawn at the age of 10 in 1992.

The 39-year-old’s latest project, psychological horror film The Night House, is being released in cinemas on Friday.

Asked if it is a time for women to be empowered within the film industry, Hall told the PA news agency: “I definitely sense that – I think that there’s a real shift that’s happened in the last few years.

“It’s noticeable, the scripts, even the way people talk about it in meetings… it feels real for the first time.

“Because, for as long as I can remember, even in my early 20s, people were talking about ‘We must champion strong female leads’, and ‘This is going to be a strong female lead’.

“And, honestly, I have played a lot of ‘strong female leads’ but that is not enough.

“There’s got to be room for complexity and humanity and all of the stories that exist for all the genders and all the minorities, which is happening, and that seems real for the first time.”

Iron Man 3 Premiere – London
The actress made her on-screen debut at the age of 10 (Ian West/PA)

Hall was previously nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as Vicky in the romantic comedy-drama Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and has also appeared in The Awakening, Iron Man 3 and, most recently, in Godzilla vs. Kong.

She also received praise for her portrayal of reporter Christine Chubbuck in the biographical drama Christine.

Describing the process of filming The Night House, in which she plays a widow who is trying to process the grief of her husband’s unexpected death while staying in the lakeside home he built for her, she said: “It was a very challenging film to make – probably the most obvious reason is that most of the time, it’s just me alone in a house.

“It’s quite a lot to shoulder and keep going and just keep your stamina going, frankly.

“So that was pretty hard, I would say, and some of the physical stuff was unlike anything I’d done before and was quite loose and intuitive sometimes.

“I was grateful for that, but it also probably left me looking a little silly at times.”

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The film was originally made in 2019 and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020 but further releases were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Discussing how the film’s exploration of loneliness and grief might resonate with people now, the film’s director, David Bruckner, said: “People have been in their houses for a year, I don’t know how much that will have an effect on what’s happening, necessarily.

“But I do think that grief really is a keyword.

“I think we all felt a collective grief when the world shut down, not just about our own fears and anxieties about what was going to happen, but I think we got a glimpse of society lost, what it would mean if our shared collaboration broke down in some way, and I do think there was a sense of loss to that.

“Will the film tap into that? I never know. I’m eager to see how people respond to it.”

– The Night House is released in cinemas on August 20.

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