Natalie Dormer has a simple solution to sexist script writing: ‘Often the answer is just delete John and write Jane’

'You don’t need to write about shoes and babies and periods'

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The Independent Culture

Earlier this year, Ross Putman began posting snippets of sexist film scripts on his Twitter account, each one regarding the description of the female characters in the story.

What quickly became apparent is how scriptwriters too often objectify women in their writing, with female characters being described first and foremost as ‘beautiful’, ‘stunning’ and ‘attractive’.

While talking with Natalie Dormer, I mentioned Putman’s Twitter account, giving an example (“Leggy Blonde, 28, stunning”) and asking how often she reads those sort of descriptions in scripts.

“It happens, stuff like that,” she says. Her solution? “Often the answer is just ‘delete John and write Jane’, I don’t think you need to ‘write for women’, per se. You don’t need to write about shoes and babies and periods. Women have brains the way men have brains.

“If you just change the name of the character; that’s what Angelina Jolie did with Salt, which was a role originally for Tom Cruise. I think male writers maybe panic that they can’t write female characters too much. Just change John to Jane.”

Dormer is currently promoting her new thriller The Forest, in which she plays the main protagonist.

Speaking about the move away from the 'costume dramas' she is often associated with - such as The Tudors and Game of Thrones - she said: “I’m all about challenging the perception of myself, people’s perception of me. 

“I’m interested in genres and things I haven’t done before, so I’m overdue doing some good contemporary work.”

Read our full interview with the actor on the 22 February. Meanwhile, The Forest is out in UK cinemas 26 February.