When actress Robin Wright arrived on the set of Kering’s Women in Motion on Thursday, the shadow of Claire Underwood, the wife of the U.S. president in “House of Cards,” floated in, too. One has become hardly dissociable from the other, and so it was this role of the powerful woman she invented with David Fincher that drove her for the first time behind a camera. Elegantly dressed in a black suit, she came to the 70th Cannes Festival as director to promote “The Dark of Night,” her first short film that addresses, under the guise of a thriller, the inequality between genders: “they raised $ 50,000 in crowdfunding and we shot it with the team of House of Cards, which is a bit like my family, and who volunteered to work for free for a weekend!” she told the audience this morning. A taste of freedom for Robin Wright who took her first steps as director in the structure formatted by Fincher.
As she related it during this morning’s panel talks, her relationship with Kevin Spacey is like sister and big brother. So when she saw him make his first episode her immediate reaction was: “Why not me? What you’re doing, I’d like to do too! ” But she adds: “It was only when they said O.K. that I was suddenly petrified. Fortunately the team supported me and I continued.” In three seasons Robin Wright appears nine times in the credits as director. When Fincher convinced her to take on the role of Claire Underwood, he sold her this role not as a woman in the shadow of a man, but as a stronger, much richer female character with the same amount of acting and space as the president. “Claire is the best of both. Francis devours, attacks when she’s calm and watches while being just as ferocious,” Wright said.
On the issue of the lack of women directors in the film industry (the central theme around which the Kering talks were conceived at Cannes)–seven percent of films are directed by women in the United States–Robin Wright is confident. As the one who’s just finished shooting Patty Jenkins’s “Wonder Woman,” a female superhero movie, she thinks the time has come, and we should keep talking about it, and multiply the discussions on women’s place in cinema: “We must encourage the younger generation to express themselves. Feminism means equality, period. Equal pay for equal work. Now things have to move on the side of the decision-makers and film financiers who are mostly men. It’s time for it to change and for the new generation to join forces and speak out about it.”
Ali Naderzad is in Cannes covering the 70th film festival during May 17-27.