Dr. Christmas Jones (Denise Richards) in ‘The World Is Not Enough’
By now, a great many movie fans are familiar with the Bechdel Test, a thought exercise developed by cartoonist Alison Bechdel and her friend Liz Wallace that appeared in Bechdel’s comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1985. In its common form, a movie passes the Bechdel Test if two named characters converse about any topic other than a man. Depressingly, as we’ve all learned, many movies have a hard time meeting even that low bar.
Another common area of irritation for women in films is casting. It’s far harder for an older woman to succeed as an actor than it is for a man, because casting personnel will tend strongly to populate every female role with younger women. One of the reasons Hollywood casts younger women is that younger women are perceived as more attractive, which gets us to the topic of this post.
A producer named Ross Putman has started an amusing Twitter account designed to point some obvious inequities in the ways characters in movies are apportioned.
Putnam’s Twitter account the parts of certain screenplays in which a major female character is introduced, pointing up how lazily, reflexively, automatically such characters are described as attractive, smoking hot, pretty, etc., whether it makes sense in the role or not. Here’s Putnam’s description of the project:
These are intros for female leads in actual scripts I read. Names changed to JANE, otherwise verbatim. Update as I go. Apologies if I quote your work.
After reading several of these tweets, one begins to wonder what’s motivating the (presumably) men who write this stuff.
James Bond movies are famous for being populated with sexy women for Bond to fuck, but in 1999’s The World Is Not Enough, one of four indistinguishable James Bond movies featuring Pierce Brosnan, they went over the line, creating a character called Dr. Christmas Jones, who is a nuclear physicist played by Denise Richards.
For the record, here’s how Christmas Jones is described in the screenplay
Moving fast, off comes the helmet to reveal a BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN GIRL. CHRISTMAS JONES is mid-twenties, shortish hair, hot right now. In one movement she unzips and steps out of the suit, revealing a khaki sports bra, cut-off shorts, heavy duty boots. A nasty-looking hunting knife strapped around her hips. She has a deep tan and an incredible figure.
This character stretched credulity to the point that Canada’s National Post called her character one of the “ten worst moments in the history of James Bond on film.”
Anyway, here is a sample of some of Putnam’s JANE tweets:
JANE, with lengthy blonde hair, enters. Attractive in an effortless way, she carries an alluring and yet forward charm behind a bold smile.— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 11, 2016
JANE, 28, athletic but sexy. A natural beauty. Most days she wears jeans, and she makes them look good.— Ross Putman (@femscriptintros) February 10, 2016
More tweets about JANE and how attractive she is after the jump…