Following the Hollywood premiere of David Gordon Green’s “Halloween,” producer and Blumhouse founder Jason Blum took to social media to apologize for comments of his about female directors that went viral earlier in the day. In an interview published on Polygon, Blum was asked why his production company has never hired a female filmmaker to direct a horror project since the genre became a staple for Blumhouse with “Paranormal Activity” in 2007. The producer’s answer garnered controversy.
“We’re always trying to do that,” Blum said. “We’re not trying to do it because of recent events. We’ve always been trying. There are not a lot of female directors period, and even less who are inclined to do horror. I’m a massive admirer of [‘The Babadook’ director] Jennifer Kent. I’ve offered her every movie we’ve had available. She’s turned me down every time.”
Horror fans and film journalists were quick to criticize Blum, especially since the horror genre has proven to be incredibly fruitful for up-and-coming female directors in recent years. Katie Rife of The AVClub even put together a list of female horror directors for the producer in a post titled, “We rounded up 10 female horror directors for Jason Blum, who seems to have trouble finding them.” Blum reacted to the backlash by apologizing and thanking those who put him on blast.
“Thank you for calling me out on my dumb comments in that interview,” Blum wrote in a statement posted to his Twitter page. “I made a stupid mistake. I spoke too quickly about a serious issue — an issue I am passionate about.”
Blum noted that “over 50 percent of Blumhouse execs are women” and some of the company’s “most successful franchises are anchored by women,” including the new “Halloween.” Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role of Laurie Strode in the movie, but the actress also served as executive producer. As Blum told Polygon, Curtis was a “very powerful, creative leader” and was involved in script development, casting, production, post-production, and marketing.
“We have not done a good enough job working with female directors and it is not because they don’t exist,” Blum wrote in his apology. “I heard from many today. The way my passion came out was dumb. And for that I am sorry. I will do better.”
— Jason Blum (@jason_blum) October 18, 2018