“We don’t want no steenkin’ women action heroes!”

No, no, chill, please. Those aren’t our words. They’re the gist of words uttered by the D-peeps over at Legendary Pictures. Words that inspired this brilliant rant analysis of the current cinema situation:

LEGENDARY PICTURES TURNED DOWN A MOVIE BECAUSE ITS MAIN CHARACTER IS A FEMALE ACTION HERO
by Rebecca Pahle

Frau beisst in Rechner, Frust

You probably haven’t heard of Legend of the Red Reaper. The passion product of Tara Cardinal, who also stars, it’s about a Reaper, or guardian of humanity, who goes on a quest for vengeance against those who betrayed her kind. It’s the sort of high-fantasy action story that’s gotten more popular since Game of Thrones hit it big. But you probably won’t be seeing it in a theater, since Legendary Pictures passed on it. Why? They don’t think people want to see action movies with female leads. Because Sucker Punch failed. Yeah.

To start off, let me quote the e-mail sent by the Legendary representative, bolded for emphasis:

“Thank you for letting me take a look at your script this weekend. While I did enjoy the mythology behind the story, I found myself a little confused with regards to the ‘Red Reaper’ world as a whole. While I was not closely familiar with the world before reading, certain aspects felt either unexplained or redundant — most specifically, illuminating Aella’s past, demonic powers, etc. I feel that it would be difficult to bring on another project with our currently saturated slate of epic fantasy fare, especially without any significant cast/director attachments or large-scale brand recognition. Also, while I am personally drawn to the presence of a female action hero, it is currently a tough sell with the less than stellar way Sucker Punch was received. Ultimately, while I don’t think this is for Legendary, I think the property has potential.”

The first three points—a confusing backstory, an oversaturation of fantasy, and a lack of a big-name star or director—are completely valid. Or could be: The President of DC thinks Wonder Woman’s story is “tricky,” after all. But since I haven’t read the script, I’m willing to give the anonymous e-mail writer the benefit of the doubt and say Legendary had three legitimate reasons for passing on Red Reaper.

But, of course, it’s that last reason that gets me. People don’t want to see movies with a female action hero? Oh, sure. Because it’s not like the female leads of The Hunger Games,Prometheus, and Snow White and the Huntsman took their respective studios to the bank or anything. Even Brave and the Twilight series, which are a bit more far-flung from the action genre, show that a female lead is no barrier to a movie making a ton of money.

Read it all