Who says comic book movies are just for dudes?
Gwyneth Paltrow, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Liv Tyler sat down with USA Weekend, getting in touch with their inner-fangirl while discussing what it’s like to usually be one of the only women in the male-dominated comic book genre.
All three actresses star in upcoming summer movies, which they are hoping strike a major chord with the comic crowd worldwide. Gwyneth Paltrow stands by her “Iron Man,” playing Tony Stark’s trusted assistant Pepper Potts. Maggie Gyllenhaal steps into the role left vacant by Katie Holmes in the “The Dark Knight,” playing Bruce Wayne’s love interest Rachel Dawes. And Liv Tyler takes over for Jennifer Connelly as Betty Ross in the latest incarnation of the big green guy in “The Incredible Hulk.”
When asked if it was lonely sometimes being the only woman on set during filming, all three stars agreed that women were a rare sight on these projects.
But for Liv, it was something she had become used to after being the lone woman amongst the guys after filming “Lord of the Rings.”
Meanwhile, the noticeable lack of estrogen on the set might have been something new for Gwyneth, but something she quikly got used to — as did her cast mates.
”[Iron Man] was definitely a testosterone-fest. I was the only girl for miles, except for the women working in the wardrobe, hair and makeup departments,” Gwyneth said. “I would have time off when the guys would go blow things up in the desert, and every time I went back to work, they were happy to have a girl there. They had kind of forgotten that there were women in the world.”
And if these lovely ladies were granted their own superpowers, what would these three stars pick?
“Flying would be good. I was going to say invisibility, but it’s a little bit dishonest. And X-ray vision is definitely dishonest,” Gwyneth said.
“It seems a little dirty,” Maggie added.
As for her own super skill, Maggie chose a power that wouldn’t land cause too many problems.
“I’d probably choose flying. I’d get into too much trouble if I could read minds or become invisible or see through people’s clothes,” the star of “The Dark Knight” said.
Liv on the other hand, would love to get wet with her power, telling the newspaper, “I’d like to be Aquaman and breathe underwater.”
All three actresses stressed they play well-rounded characters with complex and important lives, suggesting that fans will welcome the absence of the clichéd woman in distress.
“Twenty or 30 years ago, the women in these films were vapid and just appeared for extra silliness,” Maggie said.
Gwyneth believes they were specifically cast because each of them bring their own personal experiences and knowledge to their respective roles.
“There’s a reason why they’re hiring actresses like us. We’re all women, we’re all mothers, and we all normally do different films. There’s a certain understanding of who we are and what we bring and a certain respect for that,” she noted.
“In all these films, our characters have real jobs and really fall in love and have real dilemmas. When you look at the history of the comic books, the women also have changed,” Liv added.
And what about the possibility of Gwyneth, Liv or Maggie suiting up in the lead role of their own superhero franchise?
“You’d be good as Wonder Woman,” Maggie said of Liv.
“No, you look more like her, especially in the face. Maybe we should both be her for Halloween this year and wear matching outfits,” Liv laughed.
“If there was ever a fantasy I had, I related to the nerdy person [Catwoman] was at home — that was so me,” Liv said. “Then there was this other part of her personality where she showed her sexuality and power. Soooo sexy. That scene where she licks her paw: Ohhhh!”
Gwyneth admitted the wide appeal and large audience turnout of a comic book movie helped convince her to sign on for the “Iron Man” role.
“Robert Downey Jr. (who plays “Iron Man”) called me and said, ‘You have to do it,’ and I said, ‘Yes, it sounds like great fun.’ And then he said, ‘And, by the way, don’t you want to be in a movie that people actually see?’ I wondered, ‘Hmm, what would that be like?’” she said with a laugh.
“Iron Man” zooms into theaters on May 2, “The Incredible Hulk” hopes to smash the summer movie competition on June 13 and the “The Dark Knight” will attempt to rid Gotham of crime beginning on July 18.