It’s hard to think of a bigger name in pop culture right now than Zendaya. The Disney Channel alum is starring in blockbuster movies within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while also earning major critical praise for her lead role in the hit HBO series Euphoria. It’s no surprise that the actor is likely getting movie offers left and right, and she opened up about why she’s turned most of them down. Zendaya’s quotes about turning down male-focused movie roles call out a tired trope in the film industry.
Despite being one of the most celebrated A-list actors of the past several years, Zendaya has been very particular about what projects she takes on. She has actually only appeared in a few major movie releases: the musical drama The Greatest Showman and Marvel’s Spider-Man series. Her next film is a gritty departure from both of those roles, as she plays a fed-up girlfriend in Netflix’s black-and-white relationship drama Malcolm & Marie.
In her newly released GQ profile, Zendaya opened up about why she is very careful about which movies she signs on to. She revealed she’s read tons of scripts over the past year, but felt many of the female roles were one-dimensional and didn’t have a story apart from helping the male lead.
"It’s not necessarily that any of [the scripts] were bad or something like that,” Zendaya said. “I just felt like a lot of the roles that I was reading, specifically female roles, were just like, I could have played them all as the same person and it wouldn’t have mattered, if that makes sense. The best way to describe it is just like, they’d usually serve the purpose of helping the male character get to where they need to go, do what they need to do. They don’t really have an arc of their own. And they usually feel very one-dimensional in the sense that there’s not a lot of layers to them, meaning they all seem very kind of like the same person over and over and over again. It would have been great and it would have been fine, but I wouldn’t have grown at all."
It sounds like fans can expect Zendaya to only take on dynamic movie roles in her career, and Malcolm & Marie definitely looks like it will be proof of her discernment. The new film will begin streaming on Netflix on Feb. 5.
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