“Top Gun: Maverick” is the kind of smash people can’t stop talking about months after its release.
The box office receipts! The cool jets! A story so apolitical it’s … political! And yet a key player in the original franchise didn’t join Team “Maverick.”
She played the stoic instructor who melted over Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in the 1986 original. Yet while the sequel brought back Val Kilmer despite health woes that robbed him of his voice, McGillis didn’t get the nod.
Could it be that McGillis, in her early 60s now, is not as conventionally beautiful as she appeared in the original story? The actress explained in 2019 why she didn’t get the call, taking it in good stride.
“I mean, I’m old and I’m fat, and I look age-appropriate for what my age is, and that is not what that whole scene is about.”
Why would Hollywood, and its female empowerment agenda, let that happen? Perhaps because the industry’s treatment of women isn’t nearly as woke as it wants us to think.
Consider the 2020 sequel “Bill & Ted Face the Music.” The film reunited Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves, and early scenes in the film showed their characters with their respective brides. Said brides first appeared in the first “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” and the actresses in question are still very much alive — Diane Franklin (Princess Joanna) and Kimberley Kates (Princess Elizabeth).
Yet the studio behind the film hired younger starlets, Jayma Mays and Erinn Hayes, to play Joanna and Elizabeth, respectively.
Perhaps the most dramatic blast from inside Hollywood came from “The Mandalorian” standout Gina Carano. She gave the Disney+ show a jolt, but when she refused to self-censor her social media posts the Mouse House saw fit to fire her.
Her dismissal was more about politics than Carano’s gender, but an industry that believed in female empowerment wouldn’t have treated her so capriciously. It’s worth noting that none of Hollywood’s feminist heroines — like Scarlett Johansson, Alyssa Milano, or Kerry Washington — rallied to Carano’s defense.
The same held true for Roseanne Barr, who shattered a few glass ceilings with her blue-collar smash “Roseanne.” Barr’s 2018 Tweet against Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, sent after the show’s reboot scored with audiences, was both gross and racially charged, but her pioneering efforts on behalf of female artists got pushed aside, in part, because Barr embraced Trump voters.
Once again, Hollywood feminists stood down.
The same feminists laid low when Tara Reade delivered a credible, and scary, account of then-Sen. Joe Biden allegedly sexually assaulting her when she worked for him in the early 1990s.
Even the horror genre, known for promoting female stars, has shown an ugly side.
The horror genre has been ahead of the curve on sexual politics, making the “Final Girl” trope an essential part of the business. Think Laurie Strode from the “Halloween” saga and Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott of the “Scream” saga.
Except Campbell is nowhere to be found in the newest “Scream” entry. She apparently wanted too much money, and the studio behind the film decided to slash her iconic role down to a quick mention. The actress, now 49, told People Magazine a male actor anchoring a profitable series would have been treated differently.
“I did not feel that what I was being offered equated to the value that I bring to this franchise, and have brought to this franchise, for 25 years … in my soul, I just couldn’t do that. I couldn’t walk on set feeling that — feeling undervalued and feeling the unfairness, or lack of fairness, around that.”
It IS show business, after all, but dismissing a franchise’s key player over a contract dispute seems, well, less than empowering.
The MeToo movement started and partially wrecked by Hollywood due to politics, was meant to not just stop serial predators but give women a better part of the Hollywood dream machine. Tell that to Mia Wasikowska, the in-demand star who pulled away from the industry in recent years.
She told the Sydney Morning Herald last year one reason why she dialed back her work schedule.
“I think you would be hard-pressed to find any young woman who hasn’t experienced a level of abuse or inappropriate experiences or behavior towards them.”
That isn’t a quote tied to the casting couch from another era. It’s not even hearkening back to Harvey Weinstein’s reign of terror in the 1990s. Wasikowska is 33 years old, and the allegations she’s making date back a few years, at best.
“Beverly Hills 90210” alum Shannen Doherty blasted the industry’s double standard over looks two years ago, and her comments still smart today. She used her Instagram account to share how actresses feel the need to use Botox and other plastic surgery-style practices to stay forever young, while men are allowed to age, and wrinkle up, just as in years past.
“You know, women without fillers, without Botox, without a facelift. Women who embraced their face and all the experience it showed … I have lived. I love that I’ve lived and that my face reflects my life. I survived a lot yes cancer but more than that. I embrace me now. Finally. … I want to see women like me. Women like us.”
One star who thinks little of Hollywood’s new feminism is actress and comic Sue Costello. The star of Fox’s “Costello” sitcom recently filed a lawsuit against Paramount Global Inc., formerly ViacomCBS Corporation, charging the company wouldn’t honor a contract for her to write and star in a TV project.
The twist? Costello responded to a call out from then-CBS head Les Moonves in 2017 seeking more female-driven projects. Costello met with Moonves, impressing him and leading to the deal in question.
Now, Costello is looking for a jury trial on the matter, declaring serial mistreatment including a physical attack.
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Christian Toto is an award-winning journalist, movie critic and editor of HollywoodInToto.com. He previously served as associate editor with Breitbart News’ Big Hollywood. Follow him at @HollywoodInToto.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.