Elizabeth Banks driven to directing by Hollywood sexism: I didn't want to end up playing fifth banana to Iron Man

Banks became bored with the job offers she was receiving and felt she had more to give

Click to follow

Elizabeth Banks has revealed that Hollywood sexism drove her move from acting to directing as she did not want to end up "playing fifth banana to Iron Man".

The 41-year-old is best known for playing Effie Trinket alongside Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games and is up for an Emmy for her role as Sal on TV series Modern Family.

But after more than 15 years in the business, she began feeling a "little bit bored" by the jobs she was being offered, and made her directorial debut with huge hit Pitch Perfect 2 earlier this year. The film's $69 million opening weekend in May set a record for a first time director and her production company is currently hard at work on a threequel.

The Barden Bellas perform on stage in Pitch Perfect 2

Banks said earlier this year that a theme in her life is being "always the bridesmaid but never quite the bride". That, along with feeling "underused" in Hollywood, is what prompted her to change path.

"[Industry sexism] drove me to direct for sure," she told Deadline. "I definitely was feeling that I was unfulfilled and a little bit bored by the things that were coming across my desk. I think at a certain point, I'm like, 'I'm vibrant and vital and interested. I still got my looks.'"


Banks found it hard to see lead roles in movies going to up-and-coming actresses instead of veterans - something she describes as "the fate of women" in the film industry.

"I mean look at Gwyneth Paltrow who has her Oscar [for Shakespeare in Love] and played fifth banana to Iron Man," she said. "That to me is a great example of the fate of women in Hollywood. Like what more can you do? I didn't even date Brad Pitt so what more can I do?"

The lack of women directors in Hollywood has come under scrutiny recently, after a Sundance Institute and Women in Film study found that almost half of the film industry believes movies directed by women appeal to a smaller audience. Furthermore, an astonishing 12 per cent said that they do not think women can handle large crews.