AceShowbiz - Heather Graham takes the director's seat for the first time in her new comedy, "Half Magic". The film centers around a group of girls, starring Graham, Molly Shannon, Stephanie Beatriz, and Angela Kinsey, who battle against societal sexism and workforce patriarchy in a raunchy and hilarious way.
The men they take on in the movie are played by Johnny Knoxville, Jason Lewis, and Thomas Kennon. "I got to work with a lot of comedians and people who were really funny and came up with some great improve," Graham shared in a recent interview with Hollywood Reporter. She wrote the screenplay as well, marking this as her first film as a writer-director.
The actress admits that she was inspired by her contemporaries to make the career move. "I saw Drew Barrymore producing films and Salma Hayek... people writing from the female point of view. It was so refreshing to see that," she confessed. She also stressed her frustrations on not seeing enough movies about and produced by women, and how that prompted her to make one herself. The star sees her film as something that she, as an audience member, would want to see and would make her laugh.
The step up in her career is not an altogether new experience, considering that Graham has been in the industry for over thirty years. Entertainment writer Chris Azzopardi mentioned that it inspired the actress to "play more stronger and smarter characters." Graham proclaimed, "That's who I am in life and that's not how I'm always seen." Still, she also wants to have more comedic roles because it's the genre that made her a household name. Currently, the actress is showcasing her comedic chops as the new mascot for British gaming company Foxy Bingo in their recent marketing campaigns, where she can be seen frolicking in the furry mascot's costume and taking on funny skits. She was also able to combine all of these qualities in "Half Magic".
Despite being a comedy however, the film highlights sexism and how women are treated and not taken seriously within the industry. Graham pointed out that she wrote the script to question the gender-bias Hollywood has had against women, especially when it comes to sexuality. "There's a much more repressive idea of how women should be around sexuality than there is around men," the actress stated.
The timing of the project and its expected release in February 2018 comes hot on the heels of the #MeToo movement, which Graham is a part of. She was actually one of the first major celebrities to come out against Harvey Weinstein. She even shared that there's a character in "Half Magic" (played by Chris D'Elia) that is symbolic of the sexism she has experienced in the industry.
Furthermore, Graham talked about how sexism influenced the distribution of major film roles through the years. She singled out Jennifer Lawrence's current success and star power as a rare case, alluding to how "The Hunger Games" franchise was a once in a lifetime chance. Graham touched on the fact that women haven't been given the same amount of opportunities as men, more so when it comes to directing. "If you look at the numbers of female directors in Hollywood, it's only 7|percent|... so that's not good," she remarked. Through her project, she hopes to inspire more women to step up in the same way she was motivated by others before her.
By taking on three big responsibilities at once in "Half Magic", Heather Graham is helping pave the way for women to be taken more seriously in an industry that has long had an issue with gender equality.