Blumhouse Productions has become a true behemoth in the entertainment industry and that all stems from the company's man-in-charge, Jason Blum. Historically, he's been well spoken and rarely makes a misstep. Recently, he made a rare mistake and issued some very ill-advised comments in response to a question about why his company hasn't hired any female directors. For those who maybe missed out, here's what he had to say in an interview with Polygon.
"We're always trying to do that. We're not trying to do it because of recent events. We've always been trying. There are not a lot of female directors period, and even less who are inclined to do horror. I'm a massive admirer of [The Babadook director] Jennifer Kent. I've offered her every movie we've had available. She's turned me down every time."
These comments were met with immediate backlash. The only female directors Jason Blum mentioned are tied up with other projects and many online were quick to point out name after name of female directors Blumhouse could look at. Blum didn't waste any time responding to the backlash. Here's what the executive had to say in a statement released via his Twitter account.
"Thank you everyone for calling me out on my dumb comments in that interview. I made a stupid mistake. I spoke too quickly about a serious issue, an issue I am passionate about. Over 50 percent of our audience is female. Over 50 percent of Blumhouse execs are women. Some of our most successful franchises are anchored by women, including the one opening tomorrow/today, led by the biggest female legend in this genre. But we have not done a good enough job working with female directors and it is not because they don't exist. I heard from many today. The way my passion came out was dumb. And for that I am sorry. I will do better."
Halloween is the movie Jason Blum is referencing and, indeed, that movie is fronted be a female. But it's David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) behind the camera. Another sticking point for some was that Blum stated not many female directors are interested in tackling horror. Yet, Blum made a point that he likes to hire directors who don't typically do horror, such as Jordan Peele with Get Out or Green for Halloween.
That said, the man behind one of the most successful horror companies around does seem sincere and isn't backing away from what he said. Jason Blum has acknowledged the error in his ways, seems sincere and appears interested in correcting the problem. To further hammer away at that point, during a red carpet interview with Variety at the Halloween premiere, Blum reiterated his apology and says they're already looking to meet with female directors as a result of the backlash.
"I totally misspoke. I made a mistake about it. Our audience is 55% women, the executives at the company we have are 50% women. I am passionate about hiring women, and I totally made a mistake in the way I represented that. We already work with a lot of women. Chelsea Stardust, who is my old assistant, I financed her first movie, but I would like to work with more. Today was a great day for me because I learned a lot and because there are a lot of women out there that I'm going to meet as a result of today so I'm grateful for it."
There is almost no question that Jason Blum made a mistake. But he's a powerful figure in Hollywood who can actually make change happen. Assuming he sticks to his word, this could ultimately turn around and provide some big opportunities to female directors. Even if it's purely from a business perspective, Blum has proved that he is willing to go with the flow of success. In this case, it would behoove Blumhouse to put more women behind the camera. Let's just see if Blum puts his money where his mouth is. You can check out Jason Blum's Twitter statement below.