Film industry 'geared for women to fail', says ex-Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal

'I’m now determined to put more women on screen – female protagonists where there are consequences to their actions'

Amy Pascal has claimed that the film industry is “geared for women to fail” in her first interview since she quit as co-chair of Sony Pictures.

Ms Pascal, who has now set up her own company, Pascal Pictures, said women in the movie business had “a mountain to climb” and described the lack of female directors as a “real travesty”.

She resigned from Sony after the company’s emails were hacked – allegedly by North Korea, angry over the comedy film The Interview. Among the revelations was her suggestion that President Barack Obama might want to watch films such as The Butler and Django Unchained, which some critics condemned as racist.

Speaking to The Sunday Times Magazine, Ms Pascal  said: “The lack of female directors is a travesty … For a woman to make a movie in Hollywood you have to go through so much rejection.  There is this mountain to climb with the whole system geared for women to fail in films.

“In music, female singers dominate. They also do extremely well in the books world, as writers of novels in particular. TV drama is more character-led. But it is also an industry more open to women than the movies is. Hiring women has long been the problem in Hollywood, because it is the men who have mostly done it.”

Ms Pascal also said that women had tended to have peripheral roles in films.

“For far too long, women effectively did not matter in films, while their behaviour had little or nothing to do with the story that was being told,” she said.

“You really also had to convince the studio that stories about women would work. I’m now determined to put more women on screen – female protagonists where there are consequences to their actions. And I will make more films relevant to women.”

Pascal Pictures is planning a remake of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women; a film based on Maestra (from a novel by British writer Lisa Hilton that has been compared to Fifty Shades of Grey); and a film about the Barbie doll. “Barbie is all about female empowerment,” Ms Pascal said. “In fact she was the first doll who was about having a career.”