Inclusion strategies have sprung up aplenty, but how to really move the needle? The organization’s trio take the next step by revealing how to activate Hollywood’s female networks: “I’m not interested in changing hearts and minds anymore.”
Since joining the USC faculty in 2003, Annenberg Inclusion Initiative founder Stacy Smith has published annual reports on the state of race and gender representation in Hollywood. Year after year, the shouts into the void had gone unheard. “For 15 years I was floundering,” Smith tells THR. “Then I found my people.”
Enter Brie Larson, 29, and Tessa Thompson, 35. The trio first met at an early Time’s Up meeting in 2017 at Larson’s house, where Smith broke out her trusty PowerPoint presentation. “When everything you’ve studied is finally delivered to the audience that it’s intended for, they’re able to take flight with the information in a whole new way,” says Smith. She and a group of actresses presented her statistics and strategy suggestions to leaders at UTA, which represents Frances McDormand, leading to the Oscar winner’s onstage declaration heard around the world: “inclusion rider.” It’s a concept first introduced in a 2014 THR op-ed by Smith, who developed the language with producer Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni and attorney Kalpana Kotagal.
Smith, Larson and Thompson also have been on the front lines of pushing for greater inclusion in media. It was an idea sparked at a Sundance gathering hosted by Thompson in January that led to, in June, Smith’s first study analyzing the gender, race and ethnicity of film critics; Larson used her Crystal + Lucy Awards acceptance speech to draw awareness to the issue. A database for studios and publicists, Critical, was launched with Time’s Up: “We have 400 critics on there already,” says the future Captain Marvel.
THR gathered the trio for a conversation about action beyond awareness and how to enforce the proposals put forward.
What was the significance of coming together for the first time?
BRIE LARSON Until we were having these meetings, most of us had never met one another, because there aren’t a ton of films that star that many women at once. Most of us had been dealing with these issues alone, not understanding that if we stood together, we had the leverage to actually get things done.
Bonjour, Brie fait la couverture hivernale du magazine Porter. Avec cette nouvelle couverture vient un nouveau photoshoot. Les photos ont été réalisées par Camilla Åkrans et elles sont vraiment magnifiques. Vous pouvez les retrouver dans la galerie !
Studio Photoshoots > Sessions & Outtakes – Camilla Åkrans [Porter] – 2017
Here’s a new photoshoot by Kurt Iswarienko of Brie and the cast of Kong for the ‘Kong: Skull Island’ promotion. The photos are gorgeous, Brie is really stunning on them! Enjoy!
Studio Photoshoots > Sessions & Outtakes – Kurt Iswarienko [Kong Promotion] – 2017
Studio Photoshoots > Sessions & Outtakes – Mary Ellen Matthews [Saturday Night Live] – 2016
Television Series > Saturday Night Live  – Stills [S41;Episode 19]
Candid Appearances > Candids From 2016 – May 07th – Spotted out in the Big Apple, New York
Candid Appearances > Candids From 2016 – May 07th – Leaving a local sports bar ‘Professor Thom’s’ with friends, NY
“I felt like if I keep everything plain in front then it brings my mind to the forefront,” says the Oscar winner on why she previously rejected being a fashion star. She credits her stylist Christina Ehrlich with helping her embrace fashion saying, “you can wear something that actually makes someone understand you better and want to get to know you better.”
It’s several hours before the Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon is set to begin at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, and Brie Larson rolls into her suite wearing dark jeans, a black sweater, ankle boots and zero makeup. She could be any pretty young woman arriving at the hotel from the airport; she did in fact just step off a 14-hour flight from Australia, one of the many far-flung locations where she’s been shooting “Kong: Skull Island” for the last four months.
This crazy juxtaposition of worlds — the Hollywood glamour surrounding a first-time Best Actress nominee; the dark indie film “Room” that showcased her talent and set her on the Oscar campaign trail (she’s already nabbed Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild trophies); and the big-budget, CGI-laden “King Kong” reboot that she’s currently filming, would be enough to send any 26-year-old into momentary shock. Instead, Larson is extremely present, taking it all in as it comes, journal in hand and bright-eyed — even though she’s had precious little sleep for the last month.
Brie has recently posed for the photograph Marc Hom for People. You can find the photoshoot as well as several high quality scans !