After Frances McDormand's epic Oscar speech, where she asked her Hollywood cohorts to adopt "inclusion riders" for all future projects, another company has answered the call. After Michael B. Jordan took to social media last week to announce his commitment to inclusion riders, for all projects being developed under his production company Outlier Society, Pearl Street Films, the production company run by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, have also committed to adopting inclusion riders. Here's what Pearl Street Films head of strategic outreach, Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, had to say on Twitter, responding to Michael B. Jordan's original tweet.
"@michaelb4jordan Thank you for always supporting broader representation in the industry. On behalf of Pearl Street Films, Matt Damon, @BenAffleck, Jennifer Todd, Drew Vinton & I will be adopting the #InclusionRider for all of our projects moving forward."
Neither Matt Damon nor Ben Affleck themselves have commented on their company adopting the inclusion rider on all of their upcoming projects thus far. While Frances McDormand's Oscar speech shined an important light on inclusion riders, the idea was first introduced by Stacy Smith, director of USC Annenberg's Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative, in a 2014 guest column for The Hollywood Reporter. Smith's guest column stated that the rider would focus on improving diversity in below-the-line jobs such as director of photography, production design, first assistant director, second assistant director, sound, film editor, visual effects and composer.
During an interview in the Oscars press room following her Best Actress win for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Frances McDormand stated that she just found out about inclusion riders last week. She explained that these riders would allow actors and/or filmmakers to request or even demand at least 50% diversity among not only the cast, but crew members as well. Smith's guest column stated her version of the inclusion rider would seek diversity in supporting roles that do not affect "story sovereignty" or interfere with financing and/or insurance.
Pearl Street Films was founded in 2012 by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, with previous Pearl Street titles including The Promised Land, Live By Night, Jason Bourne and Machester-By-The-Sea, along with TV projects such as the latest season of Project Greenlight, the HBO movie that it spawned entitled The Leisure Class and Syfy's Incorporated. Pearl Street is listed as a production company on a number of projects in development including The Trade, RFK, Apostle Paul, Witness For the Prosecution and The Batman.
Out of all of those aforementioned projects, there is no indication as to which will move ahead first, and given the rumors swirling about Ben Affleck possibly trying to get out of The Batman, it's possible that Pearl Street won't be involved in this film either, especially since Affleck is no longer directing the movie, with Matt Reeves (War For the Planet of the Apes) taking over at the helm. It will be interesting to see if the inclusion rider will also be used for ongoing projects like Syfy's Incorporated, or if it will only be used for projects currently in development. You can take a look at the tweet from Fanshen Cox Giovanni's Twitter where she announces Pearl Street Films' commitment to the inclusion rider.