Hanna Director Joe Wright Slams Sucker Punch's Girl Power, Spice Girls: 'That's Marketing Bullsh*t'
In San Francisco to present his upcoming teen assassin thriller Hanna at WonderCon, director Joe Wright threw a few pointed barbs toward Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch, calling out the film's brand of scantily clad feminism. Speaking exclusively with Movieline, Wright elaborated on the subject, tracing the "alarming" brand of sexually-exploitative girl power found in Sucker Punch back to the Spice Girls.
"For me, one of the main issues in terms of womens' place in society and feminism is the sexual objectification of women," Wright told Movieline in Los Angeles before presenting his latest film, Hanna, to the WonderCon crowd on Saturday. "That's something that feminists in the '70s tried to fight against but has been totally lost in the 21st century consumer-celebrity world. So for me, when I look at the poster for Sucker Punch it seems actually incredibly sexist, because it is sexually objectifying women regardless of if they can shoot you or not.
"I have a kind of immediate, knee-jerk reaction to such iconography," Wright continued. "I remember when the Spice Girls came out in the mid-'90s and it was all about girl power, but one of them was dressed as a baby doll, do you know what I mean? That isn't girl power, that isn't feminism. That's marketing bullshit. And I find it very, very alarming."
Wright made no secret of his disapproval of Snyder's film and its marketing campaign during his Hanna panel, where he and star Saoirse Ronan talked up the fierce teen protagonist of their film as a healthier role model for young women. In Hanna, 16-year-old Ronan plays the titular teenager, a girl raised in the wild as an assassin by her ex-CIA operative father; when the time comes, Hanna leaves home on a mission for revenge that opens her eyes to the world beyond her isolated upbringing. Ronan told Movieline why Hanna is the antithesis of the heroines of Sucker Punch.
"In my opinion, the reason that Hanna is so empowering is because she is a young girl who is not in sexy clothing and is not sexy, really, in any way," Ronan explained. "She's a bit of a misfit, especially when she steps out into the world, and is quite confused and fascinated at the same time by everything that she sees. And suddenly she turns into an animal, because these people that she's fighting -- every single one of them threatens the person that she loves, which is her father. The only world she knows. And although it is violent in some places, it's all motivated by love. That's quite wonderful, I think."
That said, between Hanna and Sucker Punch, only one film features an intimate moment between two female characters -- and it's not the one you might think. [SPOILER] In Wright's film, Hanna shares a chaste kiss with her new friend, played by Jessica Barden. The moment was Ronan's idea. "I thought it was quite fitting for Hanna to have a physical connection with someone who she cares about," she said. "Sophie is someone who she doesn't have anything in common with, and really they're both opposites. One is what no one is, really, and one is what so many young teenagers are now, and for these two forces to come together and develop a very intimate relationship... and it's not a sexual sort of romance, but it's quite a lovely friendship. And that's what girls do. It's innocent, and I thought it was kind of perfect for the scene."
Hanna is in theaters Friday; check back this week for full interviews with Joe Wright and Saoirse Ronan.