Gender divide splitting the cast of HBO drama series
They are the four faces instantly recognisable to a generation of fans who embraced their post-Sex And The City coming-of-age in New York City.
So it seems remarkable that most of the cast of millennial cult TV series Girls — which has just wrapped its sixth and final season — are struggling to find work.
In fact, the single breakout star from the controversial HBO drama isn’t a girl at all — and his four castmates Lena Dunham, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet and Allison Williams believe that is a big factor in his success.
While Adam Driver has parlayed his role as a serial boyfriend on Girls into a stellar film career, including a key part in the Star Wars franchise as Kylo Ren, his female co-stars say they are largely overlooked.
Kirke, who plays Jessa, says her career options are far more limited than the those of 33-year-old Driver, who plays her boyfriend Adam in season six.
“We don’t get a lot of job offers, not like you would expect,” Kirke told News Corp Australia.
“I mean I can give you the five roles that get asked of us to do.
“Mine are like tough girl with undertone of sadness, I cannot read another script about a bad bitch who’s actually sad in the end and that was what the whole problem was.
“Every script Lena gets is like she starts out eating a sandwich and says something like: ‘what the hell!’”
“It’s just silly, I don’t understand it. And then Adam Driver’s like — whoosh (she says, making a shooting star with her arms).”
When asked what’s next for her, Zosia Mamet (Shoshanna) jokes “maybe a cab driver”.
“We are all sort of typecast,” she concedes.
“I also just think it’s a really sad reality of the gender discrepancy in our industry that still exists.
“After season two, Adam Driver was just like the most famous human ever, and he’s insanely talented and he deserves it.
“But people often think that people are just throwing movie roles at us and we basically have to fight tooth and nail for every other job we’ve ever gotten. So yeah it’s tough to get a job in this industry right now.
“And it’s really tough to get a job that’s anything moderately different from the roles we’ve already played.”
Girls creator Dunham says that while Driver has an “extreme and powerful talent”, he is treated differently simply because he’s male.
“It’s no secret that there is more of a diversity and wealth of roles for men in Hollywood than there are for women,” Dunham said.
“Women get to be girlfriends and wives. That’s not to take away from Adam’s incredible talent but Adam will tell you himself, he’s married to a female actor and he knows how hard it is for talented female actors to find work that is right for them.”
Dunham conceived Girls when she was just 23, writing, directing and starring in six seasons which garnered multiple Emmy and Golden Globe awards.
While the ups-and-downs of the four central characters were beloved by fans, the show’s graphic sex scenes and unflinching explorations of controversial issues such as abortion, racism and body image also drew plenty of criticism.
Dunham said she next planned to focus on her feminist website Lenny Letter, as well as working on “several film and TV projects”, adding the best way for her female peers to get decent roles was to create them; just as Allison Williams, who plays Marnie, has been doing.
“The roles that are the most exciting are largely offered to men and it’s very hard to find a vehicle for a complicated female character,” Dunham said.
“Allison is really smart and she doesn’t want to play a superhero’s girlfriend, and so her options whittle down as a result of that. She has to be picky in a different way and decide to work in TV and theatre and write her own stuff.”
Williams said she was about to appear in interracial horror film Get Out, which she was attracted to because of its provocative subject matter.
“It’s a horror movie about an interracial couple going to meet the white girl’s parents,” she said of the film.
“So (it’s) timely and I don’t think it will come and go quietly. It’s kind of explosive, a little bit. Those are all the reasons I did it.”
Girls Season 6 screens Wednesday February 15 at 8.30pm on Foxtel’s Showcase, then Foxtel Play, Foxtel Go and Foxtel Anytime.