Fewer female antiheroes in fiction compared to men, says ‘Gone Girl’ author Gillian Flynn – Times of India

“Gone Girl” author Gillian Flynn says there is a lack of female antiheroes in fiction and this is why her characters, especially women, do not belong to the binary of good or evil. The author, who has also written “Sharp Objects”, is often credited for creating the not-so-perfect and evil-to-the-core women characters that are refreshing to read about. Flynn said the world of literature and cinema is full of male antiheroes but their female counterparts are largely missing from the scene. And she has set out to fill that void.

“It still has a little bit of novel feel to it that you don’t see as many women who are entrusted to be your narrator but who are also not good people. Whereas you pick up any comic book or any great male antihero, it’s a very common thing and a very common theme.

“So I really kind of set about — a little bit on purpose — tackling that because I felt like if we don’t see women in their full range of good to awful, we’re not seeing women truly,” Flynn told during a group interview on Zoom.

The author initially started her career as a critic for a leading publication before becoming a full-time writer with “Sharp Objects” in 2006. However, it was her 2012’s book “Gone Girl” that brought her global fame.

The novel, about a marriage gone horribly wrong, was later turned into a cinematic masterpiece by ace director David Fincher in 2014 with Flynn adapting the screenplay for the Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike-starrer.

Further acclaim followed when she successfully turned her debut “Sharp Objects” into a 2018 TV series, starring Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson.

Flynn also worked with Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen for his 2018 feature “Widows”, about a bunch of widowed women who pulls off a heist to save their lives.

“I think there’s an appreciation I hear all the time from people that they get attached to these characters because they feel real. When I first started writing ‘Sharp Objects’, we got a lot of rejection and a lot of it was based on the idea that men don’t read books about women.

“And women don’t want to read books about women that they can’t root for or find to be role models. But I just kept going, because I just don’t think that’s correct. I think that’s some sort of old assumption that publishing is continuing to hand down.”

Flynn is now back with her Amazon series “Utopia”, which she has adapted from its 2013 British counterpart created by Dennis Kelly.

But this time, it is not the characters that are making the noise but the currentness of the show as it is set against the backdrop of a pandemic in the US.

Those who have seen the show’s trailer can easily spot its eerie resonance with the world which is still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.

“It was shocking when we started first hearing about this mysterious virus in January. We, Americans, I’ll admit, we weren’t taking it that seriously because it’d been so long since America had such a pandemic. It still seems very much in the realm of science fiction.

“All the more so because we spent all of 2019, filming this very type of incidents. So it seemed completely out of the realm of possibility,” Flynn said.

“Utopia” is centered around a group of conspiracy theorists who find out that a graphic novel has clues about the pandemic that is raging through the US. Along the way, they meet Jessica Hyde, the lead protagonist of the novel.

The show features an ensemble cast of John Cusack, Rainn Wilson, Sasha Lane, Desmin Borges, Dan Byrd, Jessica Rothe, Ashleigh LaThrop and Christopher Denham. It will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on September 25.

Though Flynn had completed the shoot for “Utopia” before the pandemic brought all the production activity in Hollywood to a standstill, she still had to work on editing it remotely from her home.

“Thankfully for the show, we were at a good spot with that and we were all able to kind of go back to our houses and, and just work remotely. But it was very odd as those were the days where we were all just studying the TV to see what was going to happen next.

“So I would always kind of have the news on, even as I was working on the show. At times, I felt like I was switching from looking at a scene from the show to something too familiar. It was like, ‘I really did spend last year doing what I’m now seeing on TV’.”

And while the pandemic was wreaking havoc, Flynn noticed several conspiracy theories floating on social media. One of them, involving billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, felt closer to the show.

“Seeing just that brought the show’s conspiracy elements to the forefront where John Cusack, who plays the head of a pharmaceutical giant, comes under watch and suspicion.

“Well, what do you know, within a month that was Bill Gates and people believed that Bill Gates had introduced the pandemic so that he could sell a vaccine and this sort of thing. So it was very surreal,” she added.


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