'Late Night' star Emma Thompson: We 'need to move on' from dismissing movies made by women

Tom Beasley
Contributor

The world needs to “move on” from dismissing films made by women filmmakers, according to Late Night star Dame Emma Thompson.

She said she hopes that finding “interesting and fun” movies will become the priority for cinemagoers, as opposed to there being a prejudice based on women being behind the camera.

Mindy Kaling, the film’s screenwriter and star, also said she “wasn’t interested” in writing a movie in which male characters are positioned as villains.

Thompson and Kaling were promoting Late Night, in which Thompson stars as the only female late night host in America, who finds her job in jeopardy after several decades and a shelf full of Emmy Awards.

Read more: Thompson quits animated movie over Lasseter hire

Kaling plays Molly, who is hired as the first female writer on Thompson’s character’s show.

“Obviously at the beginning, there's so much comedy with how unwelcoming [the male writers] are to my character,” said Kaling.

Emma Thompson stars as talk show host Katherine Newbury in 'Late Night', written by Mindy Kaling. (Credit: eOne)

“But I wasn't interested in writing a movie where any character was two-dimensional as a villain. Everyone has a real arc as both of our characters warm up to them and they warm up to ours.”

Kaling conceded that audiences sometimes enter female-driven movies with prejudice.

She said: "It is sad to think that if a man saw this movie and, just because it has two female leads, is written by a woman and directed by a woman, thought it would be a movie about hating men.

This May 17, 2019 photo shows British actress Emma Thompson and U.S. actress and screenwriter Mindy Kaling posing on a hotel balcony in London to promote their film, "Late Night." (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

“Because obviously that's not our assumption when men make a movie. It is sad."

Read more: Movies directed by women coming out in 2019

“I wonder if this movie will be interesting,” said Thompson. “Maybe we need to move on from that and say 'let's not worry about that', because what you want is to know that the movie is going to be interesting and fun.”

She added: “It'd be good to encourage people not to make that kind of assumption about anything that's done by women because they're just people, aren't they really?"

Thompson also discussed her inspiration for playing the late night talk show host at the centre of the story, revealing that the early work of David Letterman had been a hopeful reference point.

“I've done so many talk shows and there's a very specific character to those talk shows,” she said. “[This character] is an amalgamation of all of them, all of the people that have influenced me.

Read more: Kaling and Priyanka Chopra team for comedy

“I've been frightened to go on their shows because it's late night and you have a live audience and then slowly, as time goes on, you go 'actually, I really enjoyed it'."

Late Night is in UK cinemas from 7 June. Watch a trailer below.