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Star Wars Actress Says Starting Out as a Woman in Hollywood was Uncomfortable; ‘We Never Talked About These Things’


Star Wars Actress Says Starting Out as a Woman in Hollywood was Uncomfortable; 'We Never Talked About These Things'


Summary

  • Starting out in Hollywood, Mary Elizabeth Winstead felt uncomfortable in some early meetings and auditions.
  • Despite feeling pressured in auditions, Winstead believes conversations with other actresses help raise awareness.
  • Winstead admits she once felt pressure to fit certain stereotypes for auditions but now has a different perspective.



Mary Elizabeth Winstead found it very “lonely and confusing” starting out in Hollywood as a young actress, and says many auditions made her uncomfortable. The actress, who recently appeared in Star Wars series Ahsoka and stars with husband Ewan McGregor in A Gentleman in Moscow, recalled being thought of as “cold” if she wasn’t flirty enough in auditions throughout her early career.


A Gentleman in Moscow

3.5/5

Release Date
March 29, 2024

Seasons
1

Studio
Entertainment One, Moonriver, Paramount

Streaming Service(s)
Paramount+

Winstead has carved herself a career playing some strong and varied characters in horror movies such as 2011’s The Thing and Final Destination 3, Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, and comedy movie Scott Pilgrim vs the World and its recent animated series Scott Pilgrim Takes Off. Now she is part of the Star Wars universe, playing Hera Syndulla, but none of those roles came without many years feeling that something was not always right with the way things were done in the industry she chose to be part of. Speaking to The Independent, she explained:


“It was a very lonely and confusing time to be young and starting out in this industry. I had many instances of going into a meeting and if I wasn’t smiley enough or coyly flirting enough – they’d say I was cold. There was that undercurrent of, ‘She didn’t flirt with me, so I didn’t like her.’ That happened all throughout my twenties.

“I only had a couple of friends who were actresses, and we never talked about these things. And you need to be able to talk about something with somebody else to understand that, ‘Oh, wait, this actually isn’t right – there’s something uncomfortable about this.’ Otherwise you just think it’s normal, that you have to toe the line because no one else is saying anything about it. You accept the status quo.”


Mary Elizabeth Winstead Went Out of Her Way to Please Quentin Tarantino

Mary Elizabeth Winstead on the phone in Death Proof
Dimension Films


During the same interview, Winstead recalled her audition for Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. Being a movie made as a homage to Grindhouse films, the audition for the film came with the specific request that actresses should wear short-shorts, tank tops, and flip-flops. While the actress still loved working with Tarantino, she now has a slightly different view on what was required in that audition. She said:

“If that were to come to me now, I’d be like… ‘What?’ At the time, it was just like… ‘OK! Flip-flops, check! Better get a pedicure, check!’ I didn’t question it at all. I was just so desperate to get a foot in the door. It’s not rocket science. We’re not curing cancer. We’re just trying to make movies. I didn’t need to feel like the most important thing in my life was making sure I had a pedicure that day.”

Related

Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Best Movies and TV Shows, Ranked

As we wait for her Star Wars debut in Ahsoka, here are Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s best movies and television shows.


Winstead did get the role in the movie, one of many film and TV roles the actress has added to her resume, but it is clear that she, like many others, has seen changes in how it feels to be a young woman taking her first steps in the industry.

A Gentleman in Moscow
is out now in theaters.
Ahsoka
is streaming on Disney+.

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