Female filmmakers are working hard to reshape the industry and Julia Hart is one of those filmmakers leading the way. While Julia Hart might not be a household name as of yet, Hart has created four films and each one of them has been wildly different from the other. With films like Miss Stevens, Fast Color, Stargirl, and now, I’m Your Woman, Julia Hart has proven how she can take on any genre and make it her own. I recently spoke with Julia Hart to talk a little bit about her latest film and what it was like to write and direct a film in a genre that has historically been male-dominated.
Scott Menzel: Hi, Julia, how are you?
Julia Hart: I’m good. How are you? It’s good to see you.
Scott Menzel: It’s good to see you. It’s sort of crazy, right? Because I think we almost like bookend this experience.
Julia Hart: Yes.
Scott Menzel: Because we talked at Stargirl right before the world shut down and here we are almost near the end of the year talking again.
Julia Hart: And hopefully near the end of the shutdown, but Lord knows. But yes, it’s so good to see you again.
Scott Menzel: It’s great to see you. I told you this when I talked to you back in March, I love you as a filmmaker. I think you’re just, you’re such an important voice in this industry and what you do with different genres is just so phenomenal. There’s no other way to say it. You’re just so phenomenal at what you do.
Julia Hart: Thank you, Scott.
Scott Menzel: Can you talk a little bit though about going into this genre, one that has been very much male-dominated over the years?
Julia Hart: Yeah. Obviously, as you said, I love exploring different genres. I love so many different genres of film. Even though they haven’t always represented the characters that I’m most interested in, I still love all of those movies. In particular, one of my most favorite genres is 70s crime drama. Again, as much as I love those movies, I was like, “I want to…” There’s that moment in Thief where Tuesday Weld goes one way and the movie goes another, or when the doors close on Diane Keaton’s face in The Godfather. I just wanted to know more about their experiences and their stories. What happens to them? What are they thinking? What are they feeling? So we just decided that that would be a really cool way into a genre that we already loved so much, that had been so male-dominated.
Scott Menzel: Yeah. And one of the things that I love so much about this film, in particular, is the shift in tone. The movie is almost two different films in certain ways, where they’re halfway through it, the first half is very much male-dominated, the usual stuff we see. And then it turns into this really strong female empowerment film. Can you talk a little bit about how you were able to balance those tones?
Julia Hart: Well, I think our guiding principle, that we knew if we just always stuck to it would hopefully work, was that we were just always relentless about staying in Jean’s perspective. Because the movie is slightly meta in terms of its relationship to the genre, it needed to weave in and out of that other movie, like the other movie where Eddie’s the main character and the crimes that he’s committing are the main set pieces. We weave in and out of his story and his movie, and then her movie, where the set pieces are the aftermath of those crimes. So it was a very delicate balance, and it really is, it’s like weaving two films together, but always staying in Jean’s perspective of what Eddie’s doing and what she’s experiencing.
Scott Menzel: And then my last question is picking Rachel for this role. Because I think you’ve seen it, you’ve seen the reviews, people are just praising her. She’s so different from the character that she has become known for on Mrs. Maisel. What was that like, working with her?
Julia Hart: She’s phenomenal. She’s an incredible person, an incredible actor, it turns out she’s also an amazing producer. I think it’s just really fun. Much like I like playing with different genres, I like taking incredible actors and putting them in a part that is so different from what we already know them for. Because that’s what great actors do, right? I think sometimes when people play a part as iconic as Midge Maisel, they can kind of get pigeonholed. Rachel is such an extraordinary actor like there’s Midge Maisel and then there’s Rachel and then there’s Jean, and they’re all just completely different. Sometimes I can’t even believe it’s the same person. But yeah, her performance is really spectacular. And I’m really glad that it’s getting the recognition that she deserves.
Scott Menzel: Absolutely. Well, it was a pleasure talking to you. A lot briefer this time, but hey, you have a lot of people to talk to. But I appreciate you as always, and I’ll keep having your back.
Julia Hart: Scott, thank you so much. I appreciate you, too.
Scott Menzel: No problem. You take care.
Julia Hart: Please stay well and safe.
Scott Menzel: Oh, you too. Please tell Jordan I said hi too.
Julia Hart: I will.
Scott Menzel: All right, bye.
Julia Hart: Bye.