Girls on Film takes scenes between men in mainstream movies, and redoes them with female actors playing the parts.
Here they take on a scene from the recent Star Trek movie:
Swapping the sex of the actors playing these roles is interesting because it highlights quite clearly the codes of masculinity and expected gender roles which go under the radar in the original.
A few mainstream films have successfully used this tactic to create decent action roles for women: most recently, Angelina Jolie took over the lead in Salt, a character originally intended to be played by a man. Even in this case, though, changes were made. From the production notes:
“When we changed the gender of the main character, we began to question the dynamic of every
scene,” explains producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. “We didn‟t simply question whether a
woman would make all the same choices, but also how the other characters would act or react
differently, given that it‟s a woman. It was a huge change that rippled through the entire script.”
Ripley in feminist favourite Alien was also originally conceived of as male, with Sigourney Weaver taking on the role after the film-makers decided a female lead would stand out more in marketing the film.
But the power of Girls on Film’s recreations is that they make none of these adaptations – casting a clear light on our gendered expectations of what a female or male character would act like in a particular situation.