This quote was taken from the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, in the cover story about Angelina Jolie’s upcoming movie Salt (which isn’t reprinted online, apparently). This action film was originally based around a male hero, but when Jolie expressed interest, they decided to rewrite for a woman:
… the process was a bit trickier than just changing the hero’s name and adding high heels. “In the original script, there was a huge sequence where Edwin Salt saves his wife, who’s in danger,” says [director Phillip] Noyce. “And what we found was when Evelyn Salt saved her husband in the new script, it seemed to castrate his character a little. So we had to change the nature of that relationship.” In the end, Salt’s husband … was made tough enough that he didn’t need saving, thank you very much.
Sounds to me like they should have changed their outdated attitudes instead. It’s fine when a woman is saved by her husband, but not vice versa? No wonder there are fewer and fewer movies I want to see in the theaters, especially when it comes to the action genre. Not to mention that using “high heels” to symbolize anything female is about 50 years out of date.
But it’s not just movies that seem to becoming retrograde in this area; the NPR blog has a wonderful piece about the History Channel miniseries America: The Story of Us that points out how, while they apparently attempted to include non-white voices in their story, they’re still overlooking the female voice.