Zoe Kazan is calling out the double standards of the industry.
In an interview with The Guardian while promoting her new film The Big Sick (produced by Judd Apatow and costarring Kumail Nanjiani), the 33-year-old star opened up about experiencing sexual harassment on set in the past.
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The El Lay native, who grew up around the industry (her parents wrote the movie Matilda!), said of her experience being a woman in Hollywood:
“There’s so much sexual harassment on set. And there’s no HR department, right? We don’t have a redress. We have our union, but no one ever resorts to that, because you don’t want to get a reputation for being difficult. I’ve told Paul about stuff that has happened on set and it’s almost as if he can’t take it in. It’s too upsetting. And he’s never had to deal with that once.”
And by “he” she means her boyfriend of 10 years, Paul Dano, with whom she lives with in NYC.
Speaking of the Little Miss Sunshine star, the differences in their careers are fairly obvious:
“We talk a lot right now about ‘toxic masculinity’, but it’s a real thing. Paul is a very emotional person. I mean, he’s also a boy’s boy, really into sports, and people can be surprised by how bro-y he is. But he’s very sensitive and the art he responds to is very emotional. And yet, nine times out of 10 [in a role], I have to cry, and he rarely has to cry. I think once in an audition I had to have a gun and be tough, and his auditions have involved guns or a kind of toughness so many times. I think there’s a difference in the range of roles he is offered, compared with the range I have access to.”
She added of the audition process:
“I have a lot of girlfriends who are amazing actors, and many times we’ve talked about having to go into a room and give ‘blowjob eyes’. You know, be flirty with a director or a producer. It’s the sense that your sexuality is somehow baked into this situation. Or there’ll be auditions where they’ll say, ‘Wear something body-conscious’ and then you’re aware that they’re checking out your body. You leave the situation feeling not good about what just happened, but you don’t really have the language for why. You feel like, if you said something, it would reflect badly on you.”
As for if she’s ever been “directly propositioned” on other sets, Miz Kazan recalled:
“No. I mean. Hmmm. Like, I had a producer ask me on set once if I spat or swallowed. At work. He’d say, ‘Oh, it’s a joke, ha ha.’ But he was also paying my cheque and then watching me from the monitor as I made out with another actor – so when he tells me I look good, it feels different. I was in my mid-20s at the time. I was not powerful, I did not feel I could say anything. That has got better as I’ve got older, partially, I think, because I’m better at knowing how to shut that down. But it makes you feel guilty, and bad, as if it’s somehow your fault – that you’re somehow giving that person the signal that it’s OK to treat you that way. And none of that is stuff that Paul has to deal with.”
Working with Apatow & co. on her latest project was *not* this way, however:
“[The Big Sick] was a very clean job for me. Everyone was super respectful.”
Now, let’s hold everyone else to this standard, shall we?
[Image via FayesVision/WENN.]
The Big Sick’s Zoe Kazan Opens Up About ‘Sexual Harassment On Set’ — Including Being Asked If She ‘Spat Or Swallowed’!