Gillian Flynn is a fan of cruel female characters—and she’s probably created some of your favourite ones. The New York Times #1 Best-Selling Author has penned three novels—Gone Girl, Dark Places and Sharp Objects—each of which have been somehow adapted for screen. In her transition from publishing to Hollywood, Flynn co-wrote the upcoming Widows with director Steve McQueen, a thriller about four women who pick up a life of crime after their mob-affiliated husbands are murdered.
While in Toronto premiering Widows to rave reviews from TIFF audiences and critics, Flynn and McQueen took to the stage at Tina Brown’s Women in the World Summit to talk about art, activism, writing female heroes. Moderating the conversation was Amanda Parris, host of CBC Arts, who asked Flynn if there’s danger in romanticizing the anti-hero, referencing an episode of HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness that suggests we wouldn’t have Donald Trump if not for Walter White. If this is the effect of glorifying the male anti-hero in popular culture, what effect could creating female anti-heroes have?
“Women should have the full spectrum of good and bad,” Flynn said in response, “People always say, ‘Why do you write about bad women?’ Well, I write about women. And yes, I have gone out of my way in the past to write about negative women, bad women, about women who do bad things — because those women exist in the world.”
Flynn goes onto say that she thinks it’s not dangerous to write about bad women, but “a dangerous thing to say, ‘don’t write about women who are bad.'” Plus, only writing about good women is boring: “it says that all our job is in society is to support. And where’s the trailblazing going to happen from there. It has to happen by showing that there are all kinds of women in the world. I think there has to be all kinds of female characters. All across the board, every kind of women should be showing up on screens, showing up in books, showing up as characters of all kind. The world is a very interesting place, and women are very interesting people.”
Watch the full interview here:
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