Carter Smith/ElleFor their annual Women in Hollywood issue, Elle honors several females who have had an impact on the film industry including Kate Hudson, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Hilary Swank. The three actresses opened up to the mag about everything from the lack of quality female roles in movies to their experiences on the casting couch. Check out a few of their choice quotes, then pick up the November issue to read more with other powerful women in the biz such as Jodie Foster, Kerry Washington, Diane Keaton, Diane Kruger, and Jessica Chastain.
What actress do you most admire? "I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say my mom [Goldie Hawn]. Apart from the fact that she's my mother, she's a brilliant comedian and a force as a producer. She paved the way for women to produce and star in their own films, and to balance that with being the matriarch of our family is really inspiring."
Are good female roles hard to find? "They are because in most male-driven vehicles, the female parts tend to be dispensable. I have faith that we can make female-driven films that are as interesting to men as they are to women."
What did you learn from your mother about being a parent in Hollywood? "My mom and dad had it figured out: They never worked at the same time, and they were very conscious of making anywhere we went feel like home. When you're working, the hours are brutal, but when you're not working, you have all the time in the world. That's always a difficult balance."
Kate Hudson - Carter Smith/ElleGwyneth Paltrow - Carter Smith/Elle
Have you ever had a casting-couch experience?
"Yup. When I was just starting out, someone suggested that we finish a meeting in the bedroom. I left. I was pretty shocked. I could see how someone who didn't know better might worry, 'My career will be ruined if I don't give this guy a blow job!'"
How do you feel about the kinds of roles available to women today?
"Kind of dejected. There's a lot that's okay, but there's little that's really good, especially for someone my age. Sometimes you find out that something you really liked is going to someone 10 years younger. I find it heartening that Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock have been able to find and create amazing projects."
Hilary Swank - Alexei Hay/Elle
What have been some of your best moments in front of the camera?
"I'd put 'Conviction' up there with 'Million Dollar Baby' as two of my best experiences. Sam Rockwell and I had some scenes where the director yelled and we were dropped back on Earth. You literally go someplace else. That does not happen very often."
Do you take pains not to carry yourself like a celebrity?
"I see myself as an actor -- I don't see myself as a celebrity. I went to Italy last year, and I was driving around the country by myself, and people were like, 'What are you doing?' Getting from A to B! In New York City, I take the subway all the time. I take it out to Shea Stadium and watch baseball games. It's easy to lose touch with people when you're not around them anymore. You become so secluded and isolated -- and that's just not something I'm interested in."