While at a tribute event at the Lumiere Fest in Lyon, France, Martin Scorsese took some time to address something that has been a hot topic in Hollywood — the dearth of good roles for women. As a legendary filmmaker for several decades, Scorsese can boast a ton of movies with great roles for women, but very few of them can be considered leading roles. When asked about why he has never done a movie the features a woman in the leading role, Scorsese defended his record:
“It just happens that the stories I’ve made over the years have centered on male characters…
“But the women are the Actors in the story.”
And he’s not trying to pull a fast one on us, either. Consider Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver and Cate Blanchett in The Aviator. Ellen Burstyn won an Oscar for her leading role in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, so it’s something that can be done. But many of the women in Scorsese’s films, while undeniably strong and a necessary presence, are either victims or villains. (Not that people like Jordan Belfort and Jake LaMotta are valiant heroes, but still. We’re meant to root for them on some humanistic level.)
Scorsese did say that he’s working on a few things that involve female leads, and if he is able to bring those to the screen, maybe Hollywood will take notice.