If you are one of the legions of people out there wondering why we haven’t seen more female-led genre movies in the wake of the success of the Twilight franchise or movies like The Heat and Bridesmaids, an entirely unlikely explanation has arisen: Zack Snyder‘s Sucker Punch.
The Planet Ethereia blog reports that Tara Cardinal attempted to get Legendary Pictures — producers of Pacific Rim, Man of Steel and Clash of the Titans, amongst other projects — interested in her fantasy project Legend of the Red Reaper. The studio turned her down, for a number of reasons. One of which, in particular, seems a little out of place with the others.
The e-mail from the (unnamed) Legendary representative was published on the site, unedited. “Thank you for letting me take a look at your script this weekend,” it began. “While I did enjoy the mythology behind the story, I found myself a little confused with regards to the ‘Red Reaper’ world as a whole. While I was not closely familiar with the world before reading, certain aspects felt either unexplained or redundant — most specifically, illuminating Aella’s past, demonic powers, etc. I feel that it would be difficult to bring on another project with our currently saturated slate of epic fantasy fare, especially without any significant cast/director attachments or large-scale brand recognition. Also, while I am personally drawn to the presence of a female action hero, it is currently a tough sell with the less than stellar way SUCKER PUNCH was received. Ultimately, while I don’t think this is for Legendary, I think the property has potential.”
Turning a script down for underexplained elements, concern over market saturation or lack of name recognition is all perfectly understandable, let’s be honest. That Sucker Punch‘s “less than stellar” reception makes female action heroes a tough sell, however — that’s just a little bit harder to swallow. After all, it’s not like a female action hero movie was the third-most-successful movie of last year or anything.
I get that Sucker Punch — another Legendary production, of course — may make some within the company nervous about the prospect of an original female-led genre property, but come on. Isn’t it possible that the problem people had with that movie had as much to do with the slight whiff of fetishism from the whole endeavor (Oh, wait, there was a story reason why they were all playing dress-up?) and distinct attempt to market the movie to men rather than the gender of the lead characters?
In related news, Legendary has also started turning down any project related to male action heroes after the less-than-stellar reception to Jack the Giant Slayer, Jonah Hex and Ninja Assassin, as well as giant monster characters after Pacific Rim. Oh, wait. Never mind.