More opportunity for women needed in cinema, says Simon Pegg

By Daniel Harkins, PA Scotland

Men should “suck it up” and accept it is time women were given a greater voice in cinema, Simon Pegg said, as he took part in a festival focused on women-lead films.

The Mission Impossible star was speaking during the Glasgow Film Festival at the UK premier of his new movie Lost Transmissions, written and directed by American Katharine O’Brien.

Speaking on the red carpet at the Glasgow Film Theatre, he told the PA news agency: “The reason I did this film, aside from the beautiful script, is the fact that Katharine was directing.

“And obviously there needs to be more opportunity for lots of different diverse voices in cinema, and not least women.”

Asked if women are currently getting a raw deal in Hollywood, he said: “Currently? They always have, forever. Maybe now it’s starting to change and at least people are talking about it. But it’s rough being a woman generally, isn’t it?”

In recent years Holywood has began addressing gender inequalities in the industry, sparking a backlash from some prominent directors. But Pegg said it is time women were given a fair deal.

“I think they are owed it really,” he said. “Men should suck it up – it’s time to hear from someone else.”

Katharine O’Brien called for big budget movies to be given to women (PA)

Lost Transmissions is about an aspiring songwriter who helps her friend cope with mental illness, a story O’Brien said was inspired by a broken healthcare system and homelessness crisis in Los Angeles.

She said it was time the industry began giving big budget films to women.

She said: “When it comes to big budgets, financiers need to have the trust to let women take charge of these bigger budget films. That’s what will really start to make a difference.

“I think when you are telling a truly female story, and not just sticking women in a man’s role, you get an entirely different psychology at work which leads to different storylines.

“In this story Juno (Temple) is playing the heroine and is exhibiting these qualities of being nurturing and being able to stick it out and that makes her the hero.

“It’s nice to be able to tell stories where we get to show what real female strengths are.”

Pegg added that the role gave him the opportunity to break out being typecast as the light relief.

“I was really flattered to be offered this role – people tend to pigeonhole you as an actor and I’m pigeonholed as light relief so it was nice to not be that.”