Jessica Chastain clearly gets it. She has said The 355 is not just for girls. In an interview she said it is:
“…just as important for a 13-year-old boy to see as a 13-year-old girl”.
In The 355, which Chastain also co-produced, a group of five female international spies team up to stop the bad guys triggering a world-altering event from occurring. What sets Chastain’s comments apart is that this is not the normal Hollywood approach.
Remember the way these things have usually been approached in the past? The movie is built up as a feminist statement, stacked full of idiotic males, the marketing campaign is entirely female-centric, including comments from cast and crew. So male audiences stay away, the movie flops.
Then, somehow, it all becomes men’s fault that the movie flopped because their misogyny and the patriarchal privilege (or something) meant they didn’t come to the theatre. Rinse and repeat. We wrote about this a while ago when another high-profile movie imploded in this way and, oh boy, did we get some venom on social media.
In an interview with the Press Association, Chastain went on to talk about the movie and where the curious title comes from. The 355 pays homage to the female spies that assisted during the American Revolution.
“We decided to use the title 355, because 355 was the secret code name for the first female spy in the American Revolution, George Washington’s female spy, and her identity is still unknown to this day.
But it’s used as a moniker by women who work currently in espionage – The 355 is a way of honouring her, whoever she was, the woman who worked in the shadows.”
Of course, any spy movie has to deal with the giant elephant in the room that is the 007 franchise, and it was while discussing this that Chastain made her comments.
“The interesting thing about Bond is it’s a film that a lot of demographics go to see. I don’t see 355 as a film that I made for women. I think I’ve made it for men too, and boys; I think it’s just as important for a 13-year-old boy to see this film as a 13-year-old girl.
If anything, to watch Penelope (Cruz) and Diane (Kruger) and Lupita (Nyong’o) and (Fan) Bingbing, they’re so gorgeous and kick ass and exciting, and Penelope is so funny and sweet; it’s exciting to see these women shine.
But then also, we’ve got Edgar Ramirez and Sebastian Stan… and the action sequences are really intense. So I kind of feel like I’ve made this film for everyone.”
As a producer, she has skin in the game. Is Hollywood finally learning?
The 355 is released in cinemas on January 7.