Who says comic book movies are just for dudes?
Gwyneth Paltrow, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Liv Tyler sat down with , getting in touch with their inner-fangirl while discussing what it’s like to be the only women in the male-dominated comic book genre.
All three actresses star in upcoming summer movies, which they hope strike a major chord with the comic crowd worldwide. Paltrow stands by her “Iron Man,” playing Tony Stark’s trusted assistant Pepper Potts. Gyllenhaal steps into the role left vacant by Katie Holmes in the “The Dark Knight,” playing Bruce Wayne’s love interest Rachel Dawes. And Tyler takes over for Jennifer Connelly as Betty Ross in the latest incarnation of the big green guy in “The Incredible Hulk.”
When asked if it was lonely sometimes being the only woman on set during filming, all three stars agreed that women were a rare sight on these projects.
But for Tyler, it was something she had become used to after being one of the only women in “Lord of the Rings.”
Meanwhile, the noticeable lack of estrogen on the set might have been something new for Paltrow, but something she quickly got used to — as did her castmates.
“(‘Iron Man’) was definitely a testosterone-fest. I was the only girl for miles, except for the women working in the wardrobe, hair and makeup departments,” Paltrow said. “I would have time off when the guys would go blow things up in the desert, and every time I went back to work, they were happy to have a girl there. They had kind of forgotten that there were women in the world.”
And if these ladies were granted their own superpowers, what would these three stars pick?
“Flying would be good. I was going to say invisibility, but it’s a little bit dishonest. And X-ray vision is definitely dishonest,” Paltrow said.
“It seems a little dirty,” Gyllenhaal added.
As for her own super skill, Gyllenhaal chose a power that wouldn’t land cause too many problems.
“I’d probably choose flying. I’d get into too much trouble if I could read minds or become invisible or see through people’s clothes,” the star of “The Dark Knight” said.
Tyler on the other hand, would love to get wet with her power, telling the newspaper, “I’d like to be Aquaman and breathe underwater.”
All three actresses stressed they play well-rounded characters with complex and important lives, suggesting that fans will welcome the absence of the clichéd woman in distress.
“Twenty or 30 years ago, the women in these films were vapid and just appeared for extra silliness,” Gyllenhaal said.
Paltrow believes they were specifically cast because each of them bring their own personal experiences and knowledge to their respective roles.
“There’s a reason why they’re hiring actresses like us. We’re all women, we’re all mothers, and we all normally do different films. There’s a certain understanding of who we are and what we bring and a certain respect for that,” she noted.
“In all these films, our characters have real jobs and really fall in love and have real dilemmas. When you look at the history of the comic books, the women also have changed,” Tyler added.
And what about the possibility of Paltrow, Tyler or Gyllenhaal suiting up in the lead role of their own superhero franchise?
“You’d be good as Wonder Woman,” Gyllenhaal said of Tyler.
“No, you look more like her, especially in the face. Maybe we should both be her for Halloween this year and wear matching outfits,” Tyler laughed.
“If there was ever a fantasy I had, I related to the nerdy person (Catwoman) was at home — that was so me,” Tyler said. “Then there was this other part of her personality where she showed her sexuality and power. Soooo sexy. That scene where she licks her paw: Ohhhh!”
Paltrow admitted the wide appeal and large audience turnout of a comic book movie helped convince her to sign on for the “Iron Man” role.
“Robert Downey Jr. (who plays Tony Stark) called me and said, ‘You have to do it,’ and I said, ‘Yes, it sounds like great fun.’ And then he said, ‘And, by the way, don’t you want to be in a movie that people actually see?’ I wondered, ‘Hmm, what would that be like?’” she said with a laugh.
“Iron Man” zooms into theaters on May 2; “The Incredible Hulk” hopes to smash the summer movie competition on June 13; and “The Dark Knight” will attempt to rid Gotham of crime beginning on July 18.