Producer Lynda Obst laments in NY magazine about Hollywood's apparent preference these days for guy executives. Yes, there are still plenty of women in charge - Amy Pascal, Stacey Snider and any number of independent producers - but there's no Sherry Lansing, Nina Jacobson or Gail Berman (Paramount, Disney and Fox) to keep the boys at bay. Illustrative of the way men in Hollywood see powerful women, at least according to Obst, is the HBO show "Entourage," which has given viewers the fantasy chick/agent Amanda who Obst describes as "modern, multidimensional: a girl who’s a boy who’s a girl." Show biz has always been a man's world, of course; it's just more out in the open.
What happened? Attrition and the market. It’s too hard, and these days we have to make boys’ movies. It’s all about 300 and Silver Surfer and Pirates and lucky Laura Ziskin, the girl who’s got Spidey. Even our very own genre, the romantic comedy, once scorned by men, has, astonishingly, been taken over by them: The new romantic mythmaker Judd Apatow, of the genre-bending hits Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, is making leads out of tubbies like Seth Rogen and nerds like Steve Carell. Be still my beating heart. The power of the vehicle is being subverted to tell us that man-boys are adorable and hotties like Katherine Heigl should be happy ending up with zhlubs.
But this is the other big thing: It’s a Darwinian grind, and there is a huge dose of attrition killing the most normal of these women, as a superhuman kind of desire is necessary to deal with the hours, the lying, the incredible and increasing difficulty of putting a movie together—mixed with the apparently singularly difficult proposition of having both a life (and even sex) along with a big career. So the frequent bonding conversation among some of the best of the singles is that in the “glamour capital of the world,” they’re getting the short end of the stick.