[CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT ★★]
“HOUSE OF CARDS” IS GREAT FOR OLDER ACTRESSES
(P2) Seasoned actresses including Meryl Streep have spoken out about the DEARTH of good parts for older women. In the words of Streep, “once women have passed CHILDBEARING AGE, they are seen as GROTESQUE on some level.”
(P3) Yet on “House of Cards,” strong older women are STAPLES. Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) is matched by his wife, Claire (Robin Wright, above left), and he finds other FORMIDABLE foes in former Chief of Staff Linda Vasquez (Sakina Jaffrey), congresswoman Jackie Sharp (Molly Parker) and even politics reporter Janine Skorsky (Constance Zimmer).
(P4) To Neve Campbell (above right), who appears in a new role as political strategist Leann Harvey in Season 4, it’s “wonderful” to see women playing those characters.
(P5) “They’re UNAPOLOGETICALLY powerful,” Campbell said.
(P6) According to Campbell, those powerful characters are a reflection of SHOWRUNNER Beau Willimon’s respect for successful women. Willimon spoke to the actress about the role before she accepted it. It takes “someone fearless” and “committed” to survive in Washington, D.C., Campbell explained, drawing a parallel to the qualities required of women in Hollywood — particularly women directors.
(P7) “When I’ve worked with female directors, they have to come across stronger male directors I’ve ever worked with because they’re up against a negative attitude,” she said.
(P8) “There are still people out there who would rather be working with a man than with a woman.”
(P9) Lead actress Robin Wright has directed four episodes of “House of Cards” and hopes to direct many more. Speaking to The New York Times in 2014, the actor-director recalled the UPHILL BATTLE she fought to convince her colleagues that she was serious about her intention to direct. A very small percentage of film and television directors are women.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Do you watch many television dramas?
- Who are the most famous older actresses in your country?
- Who are the most powerful women you have known in your life?
- Why is it so hard for women to get work directing film and television?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Treasure trove
- Childbearing age
- Uphill battle