Bringing to light: Leading Lady Parts

Leading Lady Parts is comical, awkward, and most of all, painfully accurate

“This comedy short, written and directed by Jessica Swale, takes a sneak peek backstage as the cream of British acting talent step forward to audition for that dream role. They are primed to take on the role of a lifetime, that complex woman, the strong woman, a woman for today. A lady part who is more than just… lady parts.”

Here reads the description of BBC’s short comedy film concerning the tragic reality that is the film industry’s poor treatment of female actors.

Comically titled ‘Leading Lady Parts’ to make one’s mind wonder if they are talking about acting parts, or physical ones, the short’s main objective is to highlight the lack of seriousness when casting female leads in movies.

A 10-minute-long mise-en-scène, the skid is full of award-winning actors, namely Gemma Arterton, Gemma Chan, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Tom Hiddleston, Felicity Jones, Katie Leung, Stacy Martin, Wunmi Mosaku, Florence Pugh, Catherine Tate and Anthony Welsh.

The scene is set in an audition room, with what one can assume to be three casting directors, judging which of the incoming ladies to cast in their upcoming movies.

The directors showcase the film industry’s perception of women in their movies, by asking them to focus less on acting, and instead fit the picture-perfect female ideal: sexy, cute, smiley, yet not too much, calm, but mysterious, but not enough to intimidate the male lead.

The skit tackles matters of race, age, body shape, general demeanor, etc.… everything but the acting skills the ladies present for the leading lady parts.

A wonderful initiative by the BBC, this short-movie is a brilliant, sardonic way to highlight the obvious, long-running, and ignored discrimination in the movie industry looking to portray an unrealistic image of women;

“It’s not rocket science, darling. We’re just asking you to be thin, and curvy, sexy, and innocent.”


This piece was written by Youmna El Halabi and edited by Elige Abou Youness for Virgin Radio Lebanon and Laughing Might Help, August 14, 2018

Credits: EligeAY

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