Simon Pegg calls for stronger female voices and characters in film

He also admitted his own past struggle to ‘step into the skin of a different gender’ when writing his own female roles

Jenn Selby
Friday 29 May 2015 10:51

Simon Pegg is urging the film industry to promote stronger female characters and write more realistic parts away from the typical “male fantasy” of how women should speak and behave.

“I personally don’t feel there are enough female voices in film,” he told Buzzfeed News.

“I hope that the recognition of the lack of well-written female characters will be followed by change.”

The actor, who is currently promoting the Tess Morris-penned rom com Man Up, said that part of the problem was that film genres were often wrongly separated into different gender categories. Rom-coms for the girls – thrillers for the guys.

“Often in rom coms written by men, the female character will be some unattainable manic-pixie character, some male fantasy of what a woman is or should be… I like Tess’s voice, and I like she was writing a female character [Lake Bell’s role as Nancy] which has such a strong personality. There’s a rawness to it. She’s not a male fantasy.”

He went on to admit his and writing partner Edgar Wright’s “Achilles heel” was often writing female characters, particularly the role of Liz in horror comedy Shaun of the Dead.


“We worked so hard not to make Liz the voice of reason, or a drag, or an obstacle to Ed,” he said.

Last week, Pegg sparked an outcry over his claims that adult obsession with science fiction is causing society to become infantilised.

Speaking to the Radio Times, he said: “We’re essentially all consuming very childish things – comic books, superheroes… Adults are watching this stuff, and taking it seriously!

“It is a kind of dumbing down because it’s taking our focus away from real-world issues. Films used to be about challenging, emotional journeys. Now we’re really not thinking about anything, other than the fact that the Hulk just had a fight with a robot.”

He later clarified his remarks in a blog post titled 'Big Mouth Strikes Again', reassuring fans that he’s “still a nerd and proud”.

“The 'dumbing down' comment came off as a huge generalisation by an A-grade asshorn,” he wrote. “I did not mean that science fiction or fantasy are dumb, far from it. How could I say that? In the words of Han Solo, 'Hey, it's me!'”

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