'X-Men' Star on a Storm Spinoff: "It Is Definitely Time"

Ahead of being honored at this year's Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards, Alexandra Shipp talks about her hopes for the mutant franchise, the tide-change year for women in entertainment and what she would do to work with Meryl Streep.
Alan Markfield/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Gary Gershoff/Getty Images
Alexandra Shipp as Storm in 2016's 'X-Men: Apocalypse' (Inset: Shipp)

After taking on Halle Berry's iconic role as X-Men superhero Storm (she'll next be seen in X-Men: Dark Phoenix), Alexandra Shipp will drop in to another beloved franchise, as the new female lead in the Shaft sequel, out June 2019. But first, the 26-year-old actress, who recently starred in the first major LGBTQ YA studio movie, Love, Simon, will be honored at this year's Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards with the Max Mara Face of the Future Award. Ahead of the ceremony, Shipp talked to THR about the tide-change year for women in entertainment and what she would do to work with Meryl Streep.

In a year that has seen such change in the industry for women, has any one moment stood out?

The biggest thing from the past year has been women speaking their truth and not being afraid of it. [Asia Argento's] speech at Cannes was so powerful and I don't think that without this movement, without these women speaking their truth, that she would be able to speak her truth. As women, we are objectified so much in our line of work, so it is really beautiful that we are all getting our chance to be open and honest.

Is there a female story you want to see get made?

There are so many female stories that can be told. Audiences want to feel represented. They want to identify. I always joke around with my friends that we need a lady Fight Club. How awesome would that be? We are like, "But would it be mental warfare?" [It] would be passive-aggressive ways of fighting each other.

How important is it to you that your films have a strong message?

I started studying Greek theater when I was 10, and Greek theater originated to offer information and start conversations, political or not, through the performance. For me, that is really something we are trying to do. I try to make sure every role I take speaks to something. Whether being treated unfairly as a mutant; speaking on race; or with Love, Simon, speaking to the LGBTQ community.

Have there been talks with the studio for a Storm stand-alone?

Not yet, but I am hoping we will get around to it. It is definitely time for these Storm fans to get the movie they have been dying for.

What would you want to see from a Storm movie?

There are so many different storylines that we could take on when it comes to Storm — whether she is losing her powers or going back to Africa. I just want there to be a message of "this woman doesn't need a man." Just one movie where a woman doesn't need a man, really.

What is your hope for the future of young women in Hollywood?

I just want girls to not be taken advantage of. Though I have not experienced it in my career, you know that it exists. I don't want women to feel like they have to show some sort of affection to get the job that they want or to feel they have done enough to get this part.

Who is one female creator who you are dying to work with?

I would throw up in my hands if I could work with Meryl Streep.

This story first appeared in the June 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.