There is no question that audiences are super excited about Netflix’s new original series, Marvel’s Daredevil. The excitement for the series carries far beyond the fan base that follows the comic book series and extends all the way through every actor and producer who has had the privilege of working on the show. While we have recently been highlighting several comments that are specifically centered around the series itself, at last week’s press junket for the show, NerdBastards did have a chance to ask one of the series stars, Deborah Ann Woll, a bit of a deeper question and the response we received was a wonderful one.
Deborah Ann Woll, who plays Karen Page in the new Netflix series, has some pretty great roles under her belt, including her long running role of Jessica in the True Blood series. Taking a cue from the #AskHerMore campaign, we wanted to get a bit deeper than just her part on the show:
NB: Right now, gender equality is one of the subjects that is really being brought to the public’s attention, especially with respect to Hollywood and the entertainment industry. You have had the opportunity to play strong female characters and I wonder, is this something that you actively seek out or are you beginning to see more roles open up that showcase a strong female characters?
DAW: It’s probably both. One, I won’t [play] a role that I feel is limiting to women. On the other hand, some roles really have the potential to be really great – you just have to kind of go, “can I try this thing?”. And it’s not that [showrunners] are against that; it’s just that maybe whoever was working on it hadn’t quite thought of it that way. I’ve had the privilege to work on some really interesting women and, specifically with Jessica, from girl to woman, which was kind of cool. When I was first thinking about doing Daredevil, I was definitely like, “oh, God, I’m such a girl”, you know? But after talking with Jeph [Loeb, Daredevil EP], I knew there was something more there. Anything I threw at them, anything where I was like, “Maybe this would be cool if this doesn’t scare her…maybe it kind of excites her a little bit”, they were really open.
There are a couple of really nice takeaways sitting in Woll’s answer. First, it is very cool that Woll digs a bit deeper into her roles and actively seeks out stronger female characters. She isn’t settling for typical girl-meets-boy roles, nor should she! Woll has proven to provide audiences with characters that are smart, strong, and sensual, and she has been able to do so on her own terms. Another great point here is that there are more Hollywood roles to choose from that express the strength of females, which indicates that slowly but surely, Tinseltown is beginning to recognize that trying to fit hundreds of actresses into similar roles throughout thousands of films isn’t the best path to gender equality. Thanks to this awakening (better late than never, right?), younger actresses may not necessarily need to take roles that are stereotypical, or simply play the screen’s eye candy. If things truly are going in the right direction, there will be a whole new generation of actresses who are actually encouraged to be badasses on screen, rather than simply kissing the badass actor once he saves the day. Finally, it is interesting to note that Woll is not scared to make suggestions to those in charge when it comes to filming. Instead, if she feels that something will work better than what a director is suggesting, she makes her point known. Yes, this does speak to Woll’s strength of character but it also indicates that we are finally at a place where directors are willing to listen to these suggestions, rather than just placate the actress while considering them “divas” for going against the grain.
For those that are unfamiliar with the movement, supporters of “#AskHerMore” challenged journalists to pose deeper questions to actresses as they walk the red carpet. For much too long, journalists have been more concerned with the clothing draping actresses than with what those actresses have to say about their profession. While the #AskHerMore campaign was initiated to open up conversations on the red carpet, we believe that it is an important movement that should be felt throughout the industry, both on and off the carpet. Gender equality is an issue that has finally gained more and more attention, though not nearly the attention it deserves. With Patricia Arquette’s recent Oscar speech, the entertainment industry can no longer ignore these issues, and if we take Woll’s comments into consideration, we may finally be on the right track.
Marvel’s Daredevil premieres exclusively on Netflix on Friday, April 10.