Leonardo DiCaprio has frequently been called a ladies’ man, but that affinity doesn’t extend to his professional choices. As revealed in a somewhat surprising new Cosmopolitan article by Logan Hill, DiCaprio is one of many prominent male stars in Hollywood who rarely, if ever, work with female directors. The Titanic star hasn’t appeared a movie helmed by a woman since Total Eclipse in 1995. That still puts him ahead of Jim Carrey, Jonah Hill, Tom Cruise, and Jamie Foxx, none of whom have ever appeared in a female-directed motion picture. Neither have Clint Eastwood or Tommy Lee Jones. Factor in the actors who have only worked with women directors once, and the roll call of shame extends to Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, Anthony Hopkins, Bill Murray, Will Smith, and more. According to the article, the gender gap among Hollywood directors is drastic enough to have attracted the attention of the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, and the top-grossing male movie stars are not doing enough to rectify the situation. Hill’s points are underscored by striking charts designed by Lauren Ahn.
There are some bright spots here. Tom Hanks, Michael Keaton, John Travolta, Paul Giamatti, and others have each worked with female directors more than five times. Given the limited opportunities women have to direct A-list films in Hollywood, that’s not always easy. Selma star David Oyelowo actively seeks out such projects. “Some of the best directors working today are women,” he asserts. To be fair, Hill points out, some of the older stars in this list simply didn’t have the chance to work with women directors because sexual discrimination was even worse in the past. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that the stars themselves are sexist. Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute is actually funding studies about the problem. The problem here, Hill attests, is money. The top male stars naturally want to work on big-budget projects in order to earn higher salaries, especially during their peak grossing years. Currently, however, female directors are being relegated to lower-budget, less lucrative projects.