Emma Watson is the newest actress behind the camera. She directs, writes, produces and stars in “Prada Paradoxe” – the latest Prada fragrance campaign. But, it’s not the first time an actress has had creative control of a role. Let’s have a look at the most iconic actresses; and the influence they can have from behind the scenes.
Watson has finally put herself behind the camera. Her directorial debut, “Prada Paradoxe”, is a campaign for Prada’s new signature refillable scent. Taking on many integral roles, Watson became the multi-talented icon we knew her to be writing, producing, narrating and of course, starring in the shoot. Known for a penchant for exploring the female gaze, Watson chose famed photographer Harley Weir to make her vision come to life.
BEHIND THE CAMERA
Watson narrates “Why should I be framed? Boxes are too small”. Images of her various personas, a dancer, artist, and explorer, fill the screen. It’s not the first time an actress has asked this question. And the long path of actresses turned directors, writers and producers, before Emma Watson, is full of famous people.
The latter half of the 20th century marks the beginning of the actress behind the camera’. In 1984, Barbra Streisand was boasted to be the “the first woman in the history of motion pictures to produce, direct, write and perform a film’s title role” by MGM for ‘Yentl’. Julie Delpy co-wrote and starred in the ‘Before trilogy’ which began in the mid-90s. These actresses are more well-known for their acting, of course. But the inspiration and success within these roles can merit the creative control they have over their characterisation.
Emma Watson shared her directorial debut story on her Instagram, stating “When Prada asked me to be the face of their new fragrance campaign, I asked if I could direct it. Months later, and I’m able to share the results of the faith they shared in me, with all of you.” Watson explained, “I can’t wait to share this piece of my art, and hope that you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.” Representations of the female gaze and the multiplicity of the ‘actress’ are at the forefront of the “Paradoxe” campaign, with Watson exploring her own self through on-screen characterisation.
HIGHLY SKILLED INDUSTRY ICONS
Just as “Paradoxe” is a multifaceted scent created by Watson, so too is the character she creates and plays in the short film. In the 2000s, more actresses hopped on the bandwagon to becoming industry icons with multiple skills. Drew Barrymore starred in and directed 2009’s “Whip it”, a movie about a woman finding her true passion in roller derby. Brie Larson explored her own inner child in her directorial debut “Unicorn Store” in 2017. Even Angelina Jolie, who is now a well-established director, starred in her own 2015 film ‘By the Sea’.
There have been many actresses that have shared their vision as a director; Kristen Stewart, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Olivia Wilde (Check out the drama-filled stories from the set of ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ here!). The actress behind the camera is definitely an underrated Hollywood phenomenon.
Even Greta Gerwig, known for her candid and romantic style of cinematography in “Little Women” and “Lady Bird”, actually started out in the film industry as an actress. Gerwig starred in and co-wrote 2012 film “Frances Ha” a coming-of-age story for your 30’s. Now working with Margot Robbie for the 2023 release of much anticipated ‘Barbie’ both Robbie and Gerwig have got the film industry wrapped around their pinky fingers.
Margot Robbie is no stranger to production roles. She stars in titular films such as “I, Tonya” and “Birds of Prey”. Apparently, this is not enough for the ambitious Aussie actress. Robbie has established her own production company Luckychap Entertainment. This allows Robbie the creative control she desires whilst on set. Robbie has produced two of her own roles as Tonya and Harlequin. She is also starring in “Barbie”, set for release in 2023.
With the actress behind the camera becoming a more widespread and acknowledged talent, Watson has stepped up her game by joining these icons. The only question to ask now is, what’s next? Even though Watson never imagined directing to be a possibility as she explained her WWD interview, “No one offered me the directing job… I love telling stories”.
The end product of “Prada Paradoxe” is a fascinating telling of dimension and depth. And in the future, who knows? Watson may become the next iconic actress behind the camera – and demonstrate her multifaceted nature on the big screen.
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