The “Life in Pieces” actress makes her directorial debut with “Band Aid,” made with an all-female cast
Zoe Lister-Jones thinks solving gender inequality in Hollywood requires more than a band aid.
The actress and comedian is marking her directing debut with “Band Aid,” a romantic comedy about a squabbling couple who’ve suffered a miscarriage. While early reviews have been generally warm, the movie—which stars Lister-Jones and Adam Pally of “The Mindy Project”— is attracting buzz for another reason. It’s the rare Hollywood film that’s produced by an all-female crew.
The 34-year-old, who currently stars on the CBS sitcom “Life in Pieces” says that she hasn’t directly felt the impact of the gender pay gap, though she’s had to face different challenges as a woman. “I find myself fighting for women characters to harness the action themselves rather than playing second fiddle to their male counterparts,” she tells Moneyish. “It was important for me to subvert the stereotypes females fall into, in which they are solely reactive to the hero.”
“Band Aid,” which opens in cinemas on June 2, is sort of a meeting between “Blue Valentine” and “500 Days of Summer.” It follows the bickering duo as they patch up their relationship by forming a band and writing singing songs about why they hate each other. “I wanted to ground a comedy with an authentic portrayal of a long-term relationship,” says Lister-Jones. “I’ve never seen a couple try and navigate their domestic struggles through music.”
Born and raised in New York, Lister-Jones worked in theatre and lived out the starving artist troupe: making appearances on every English language version of “Law and Order.” She got her big break with the NBC sitcom “Whitney,” in part because of female casting agents championing her career. “I feel very lucky to have had them,” she says. “I’m trying to champion women in places where they can’t gain opportunities now.”
To that end, the day-to-day operations of “Band Aid”—including traditionally male dominated arenas like the grip and electric department—were run entirely by women. Whereas Lister-Jones’ husband Daryl Wein directed her past films and executive produced “Band Aid,” he was generally kept at arm’s length. “I wanted to avoid the dynamics that can unfold between men and women in the workplace,” she says. “To make sure that every woman was the mistress of her own vision.”
That didn’t mean she wasn’t apprehensive, especially when it came to logistical challenges like carrying heavy furniture. “What was so exciting was that the answer was yes, women can do it,” she says. “The absence of men was not something we had regrets about.”
Lister-Jones is adamant that having only women in the production room wasn’t just a publicity stunt but something that helped her make a better movie. “There was a lack of ego that I’d never experienced before,” she says. “Instead, there was a sense of community that was really beautiful to witness, but also productive and effective.”
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