Angelina Jolie has replaced Tom Cruise as the star of new spy film Edwin A Salt.
According to BBC Online, Tom Cruise had a long-standing connection to Edwin A Salt. After his departure, several other male actors expressed interest in the script but the directors decided it was best suited to Jolie.
Supposedly, the only changes that will be made to the film as a result of Jolie stepping to the role will be the gender of the character and the title of the film. If this really is the case then it’s fantastic news for a film industry not exactly famous for gender equality.
Jolie is clearly no stranger to strong characters in action-led films. From Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft to Wanted’s Fox, it’s tempting to think that Jolie’s characters are throwing punches for feminism and showing that women can be just as tough as men.
But look a little closer and the reality is that Jolie’s characters are usually there because male characters need some kind of love interest. Even when she plays the lead, as with Tomb Raider, she’s still really there to be an object of lust, for the audience if not the characters. Guys love a sexy tough girl. Let her fight, but she has to fight in short shorts and tight shirts.
So if the rumours are true and the only change will be flipping Edwin to Edwina, then congratulations to the film-makers for accidentally making a mainstream feminist action flick.
If Jolie does and says everything that Cruise would have, with no new male characters to save her or bed her, then not only will it probably pass the Bechdel test, it would also be a wonderful slap in the face for Warner Bros president of production Jeff “We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead” Robinov. Go Angelina.