Yesterday, Michelle Rodriguez celebrated the digital release of The Fate of the Furious with an Instagram post and a threat: if Universal’s biggest franchise doesn’t start giving women more screen time, she may have to quit.
While Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren did appear in the latest installment, the Fast and Furious franchise is notoriously hyper-masculine. There are certainly capable women characters like Rodriguez’ Letty and Gal Godot’s Gisele, but they definitely don’t get the screen time or the more heroic arcs that their male counterparts do. And every movie in the franchise is chock full of bikini-clad models, and also, aren’t all the cars thinly veiled metaphors for dicks? Or like the cars are like women, and driving them is like having sex with women? Whatever.
Point is, Michelle Rodriguez is the third most important character in the series and she’s willing to walk out because that’s how disrespected she feels as an actress. Rodriguez has been vocal about the lack of consideration towards actresses and female audiences. In 2015, she discussed the difficulty of finding consistent work doing strong, non-stereotypical, unconditionally empowered roles as an actress. Just last month she discussed the outdated 90s macho vibe of the franchise, suggesting that the studios pay attention to their female audiences.
Hopefully the franchise gets its shit together before Rodriguez gets furious. Also, hopefully Rodriguez’s rightful anger over the mistreatment of women will give her some clarity about how trans people felt when her horrible, super-transphobic movie, The Assignment, was released. Just a thought!