In the Dec. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine, THR senior film writer Pamela McClintock sat down with Angelina Jolie and her Kung Fu Panda Jennifer Yuh Nelson for a frank discussion on the lack of female directors in Hollywood, their own directorial mentors, feelings on awards nominations (Panda 2 leads the Annie noms with 12 and Blood and Honey could get a Golden Globe nomination for best foreign language film) and the status of a Kung Fu Panda 3. Jolie also opens up about being a first-time director, explaining how she got a "famously unsuccessful" topic (war) funded, when she found the time to write and what really happened to shut down the Bosnia set of Blood and Honey, which opens in limited release Dec. 23. Their interview ran as a part of THR's larger female directors package, highlighting Vera Farmiga (Higher Ground), Dee Rees (Pariah), Phyllida Lloyd (The Iron Lady), Lorene Scafaria (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World) and Patty Jenkins (Monster).
Rees, 34, has already enjoyed the sort of success most budding filmmakers only dream of, and her movie hasn't even opened (though it will Dec. 28, 2011). She was named breakthrough director of the year at the Nov. 28 Gotham Awards (she competed against Farmiga, among others) and still remembers the thrill of selling Pariah, her first narrative feature, to Focus Features at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
Photo by: Amanda Friedman
Lorene Scafaria 'Seeking a Friend for the End of the World'
Scafaria is part of "The Fempire," a group of four female screenwriters -- the others are Diablo Cody, Dana Fox and Liz Meriwether -- who decided there was power in numbers and started writing together. At first, they would meet at each other's houses. "Everybody got real fancy, so now we have an office in Hollywood," Scafaria says. Scafaria's gotten fancy too: This year, she directed her first feature, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley, opening 2012.
Photo by: Amanda Friedman
Editor’s Note: The original copy of this profile appeared in the Dec. 16th issue of The Hollywood Reporter. As the magazine went to press, Marvel Studios severed ties with Jenkins over creative differences and she is no longer directing Thor 2. The story has been updated to reflect the change. She directed the indie hit Monster and the pilot of AMC's The Killing.
Photo by: Nicole Nodland
Phyllida Lloyd 'The Iron Lady'
Lloyd -- one of the U.K.'s preeminent stage directors -- has made only one feature film outside of The Weinstein Co.'s upcoming The Iron Lady, Mamma Mia!, which also starred Meryl Streep. The film adaptation of the ABBA musical turned into a runaway hit at the box office in 2008, grossing $609.8 million worldwide and making Lloyd the most successful female director in history, a crown she held until Kung Fu Panda 2 came along this year.
Photo by: Alessandra Petlin
Vera Farmiga 'Higher Ground'
The only way Farmiga was going to be able to star in Higher Ground (opened Aug. 26, 2011) was by directing the movie herself. "I quite simply fell in love with the role and had to moonlight as a director," recalls Farmiga, adding that she used her Oscar nomination for Up in the Air as clout. Though Farmiga, 38, isn't itching to direct again, she knows she's butting up against the glass ceiling as an actress because of her age.