Tis the season to stan talent: awards season is fast approaching, meaning that we're going to be inundated with interviews from screen queens filled with industry tea. The Hollywood Reporter launched their annual Actress Roundtable on Wednesday, gathering the women behind the year's buzziest performances: Lady Gaga (A Star is Born), Nicole Kidman (Boy Erased and Destroyer), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite), Kathryn Hahn (Private Life) and Glenn Close (The Wife).
The ladies had a lot to say -- although we're scratching our heads at why a man was chosen to lead the roundtable -- and thankfully we did a deep dive into THR's discussion to get you the juiciest bits.
On the #MeToo movement and industry pay disparity
Lady Gaga: That's what is so exciting... to see men coming to stand by our side and say, "We want you to be loud. We want to hear your voices." It's really remarkable.
Regina King: I was talking to Maggie Gyllenhaal -- just because we both have been acting for so long, and were young when we started -- and I feel like I was very much aware of the pay differences between men and women. I knew it and I just said, "Yeah, okay. That's there. But I'm focusing on the work." So now it's like, "Oh, shoot. I never had a conversation with any of my female peers that were experiencing the same thing."
Rachel Weisz: I think about those young actresses who feel empowered and hopefully ... I have a real problem with the idea of "strong women characters." Well, does that mean we have muscles or something? No one ever says that to a man. But [I want] young girls growing up [to] see stories being told where a woman takes a central role. Where she is not peripheral to the story. She's driving the story, and so, you as a kid can go, "Oh, that's me. I can identify." So, it's like a funny thing that [these stories] are coming together as women have been speaking up about harassment. I don't know if it is a coincidence that suddenly you (to Kidman) could get [financing] for your film, you (to Close) could get your film made. The Favourite apparently took 20 years to make. Because there is lesbianism and three females at the center of it.
On how Gaga created Ally for A Star is Born
Gaga: I have created characters for myself. Because I did not make it as an actress. So, I made characters that I could be -- so that I could be one. They were always in some way related to the woman that I wanted to sing to, and a part of me. So, like for my album Joanne, I had this vision of a woman with a baby in one hand and a pinot grigio in the other, in cutoff jeans. And her hair wild and in a bun... With Bradley [Cooper], what I did was, I said, "Okay, I'm going to have to become someone that I do not have complete control over." I dyed my hair very early, before we started filming. I started to dress like her. I was writing music for the soundtrack and helping to hone Ally's sound, which was essentially something that was going to arise out of Jackson's sound, because she fell in love with him. I wanted Ally to be nothing like me. This was very important to me because the truth is, I am nothing like Ally. I created Gaga.
On whether actors have the right to play characters they don't identify with, specifically in relation to Scarlett Johansson's decision to drop out of a film about a transgender man
Glenn Close: That's a tricky question. First of all, what we are up to is a craft. And in your craft, you should be able to -- within a certain reasonable parameter -- play anyone. But there are diverse actors and actresses that have not been served. So it's up to the industry to nurture those actors. Nurture the trans actors, the people who don't get a chance. And then, the best person for the part should play it.
Nicole Kidman: The industry and the world are in enormous change right now. But maybe it's just the actor in me: Ultimately, it's the director's choice. Film is the director's medium, it's their vision ultimately. So, they're going to cast who they think is right for their film.
On what character from their films they'd like to have dinner with
Close: "The Marquise de Merteuil [from Dangerous Liaisons]."
Kidman: Virginia Woolf
Weisz: Sorry to talk about The Favourite, but I would go back to 1708 England and have some tea with Queen Anne.
King: Margie Hendrix. She was the singer in Ray, one of his lovers.
Hahn: Maybe I would say the rabbi [on Transparent]. I think that I could use a rabbi these days. Just to sit down and have tea with.
Gaga: Just because I've only been in one movie, doesn't mean that I wouldn't want to meet Ally! Okay? (Laughs.) I just want to say, I was in Machete Kills.
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