San Sebastian: Sigourney Weaver Accepts Donostia Award

Sigourney Weaver_Donostia Award - Getty - H 2016
Getty Images

Sigourney Weaver_Donostia Award - Getty - H 2016

The actress reflects on women's roles, her first-ever film fest and Hillary Clinton.

Sigourney Weaver on Wednesday graced the stage at the 64th San Sebastian International Film Festival to accept the Donostia Award for lifetime achievement, after wowing fans in her walk up the red carpet for the Spanish premiere of her latest work, A Monster Calls, directed by J.A. Bayona.

“Tonight I am Spanish. It is a great honor for me to receive this award from all of you in a country I love and whose artists I admire so much and to receive it from our director, Bayona, is a great thrill,” Weaver said, after accepting the statuette from the helmer.

Weaver spoke fondly of her first trip to San Sebastian in 1979 with the small sci-fi film Alien and how exciting it was to be as a young girl at her first film festival, watching the complete movie for the first time.

But it was when the actress spoke of women, directors she has worked with and Hillary Clinton — whom she called “President Clinton” — earlier in the day, that she seemed most passionate, even arguing with a journalist who claimed men have better roles than women in Hollywood.

“Men have more roles, but I don’t think they have better roles,” Weaver countered. “I don’t sit around envying Russell Crowe for his roles. Our landscape has changed and I feel that’s reflected in movies. I’m often asked to play roles that traditionally would have gone to men.”

On that note, she added, “It’s exciting in the U.S. now that it looks like we are finally going to have a woman president. It’s overdue. I think a lot of the progress we made is now coming to fruition.”

Asked to speak of the many important filmmakers who have directed her, including such celebrated directors as Peter Weir, Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Ang Lee, Roman Polanski, Woody Allen and David Fincher, Weaver said she was “lucky” to work with so many, but singled out Weir as having “taught me how to adapt to the chaos of film, because I’m from theater.”

The actress said that Bayona, whom she called “Jota,” was “right up there with Fincher.”

“His talent is very unique, but he is his own director," she said. "Very Spanish, filled with passion, confidence and honesty. His connection to the material is instinctive, which is amazing to find that in such a young man. He was definitely the captain of our ship.”

Indeed, Weaver glowed when talking about working not only with Bayona, but in Spain.

“Spain is one of my favorite places to work. In Spain, making movies is still considered a noble effort. Commerce is secondary, although it’s still important, but it’s not everything," she explained. "This is a place where the crew has actually read the script and when you are working you feel them sending energy to you, rooting for the scene to go well.”

A Monster Calls, which was produced by Spain’s Apaches Ent., Telecinco Cinema and Peliculas La Trini, with backing from Focus Features, River Road, Participant Media and Lionsgate, is set for release in the U.S. through Focus on Oct. 14.