A piece published on the website of Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them), the political party of which I’m the chairman, in February 2018:
A piece in yesterday’s Times by David Sanderson (Arts Correspondent) and Dominic Maxwell, emphases ours:
The writer Sir David Hare has bemoaned the constant refrain “about the need for strong women as protagonists”, saying he was sick to death of hearing about what he described as a boring cause.
Hare said he had the right to “represent all kinds of women”, adding that it was more important to show women on stage, television and film as “doing jobs equally, as the normality of the thing”.
In an interview for Times2 (J4MB: available to subscribers) he complained that “having just women who storm through the film or play being rude to everyone, and that’s called ‘strong women’, that’s not my idea of equality.”
Hare, 70, has won multiple awards and nominations for plays and screenplays after his first production appeared in 1970. He said that it was “very limiting to say you only want to see strong women”.
The writer was brought up primarily by his mother while his father was at sea. He said that as he had been surrounded by women all his life this might have been a factor in his creating substantial female roles throughout his career. “I have claimed, because I have written so many women, that I have the right to represent all kinds of women,” he said.
“If I want to represent a murderess, I want that right. Without being called misogynistic. Similarly I want to be free to portray silly women and weak women and clever women. I want to be able to portray all women. When we can portray all women equally, that will be equality.”
He added that he hoped in his canon he had “100 per cent avoided” presenting women as the “moral conscience of men’s actions” with girlfriends saying to men: “Are you sure you’re doing the right thing, darling?”
Hare was speaking to publicise his first television serial, Collateral, starring Carey Mulligan and Billie Piper, which is due to be broadcast on BBC Two later this month. He said that episodic TV drama, in contrast with films where “the audience knows what the formula is”, still had the capacity to surprise.
“Whereas the huge popularity of episodic television is its shapelessness,” he said. “So to take Breaking Bad, an obvious example, you may have one episode that has only two or three people in it and entirely concentrates on the psychological relationship between those people. And in the next one you have suddenly got car crashes and people being shot, with huge numbers of people in it. You don’t know which way it is going. That’s what people love.”
This year Hare has one play, The Moderate Soprano, due in the West End and another, I’m Not Running, opening at the National Theatre. He said that he was not certain that his TV adaptation of Jonathan Franzen’s novel Purity for an American cable network would go ahead. He suspected that the $170 million needed was too high.
He added that awareness of his age was resulting in a splurge of writing activity. “I write quicker now because of the panic of death,” he said.
“I am writing at very high speed because I have a lot to write. Almost by definition I am nearing the end of my writing life. So it’s horrible. I am under the cosh. I have got to get some things down before it’s too late.”
You can subscribe to The Times here.
Please support Mike Buchanan’s work on Patreon. Thank you.