The Decline of Sexuality in Hollywood Movies

The Decline of Sexuality in Hollywood Movies

Director Richard Linklater recently expressed his disappointment with the state of Hollywood movies, particularly the lack of sexuality in characters and the prevalence of superheroes without genitalia. Linklater, known for his work on films like the Before trilogy and Boyhood, highlighted this issue in the context of his latest project, Hit Man, a film that he described as a mix of a sexy crime thriller and a screwball comedy.

Linklater pointed out that Hollywood seems to have moved away from portraying sexuality in characters, instead opting for sexless and sterile depictions. He specifically called out the superhero genre, noting that superheroes are often portrayed without any sexual dimension or even genitalia. This, in his opinion, represents a missed opportunity, as sex and violence have historically been central to the allure of cinema. Linklater lamented the fact that Hollywood has shied away from tapping into this primal aspect of human nature.

In Hit Man, Linklater explores the theme of sexuality through the character of Maddy, played by Adria Arjona. Maddy becomes the object of desire for the protagonist, Gary Johnson, a professor who moonlights as a fake hitman. Linklater emphasized that Maddy is the catalyst for Johnson’s reckless behavior, as he is willing to risk everything for the chance to be with her. By centering the plot around Maddy’s allure and the sexual tension between the characters, Linklater sought to reintroduce the power of sex as a driving force in storytelling.

Hit Man is based on a true story that was chronicled in a 2001 article by Skip Hollandsworth in Texas Monthly. This real-life inspiration allowed Linklater to delve into the complexities of human relationships and desires, as well as explore the darker motivations that can drive individuals to extreme actions. By grounding the film in a true story, Linklater aimed to infuse authenticity and depth into the narrative, challenging the audience to confront the uncomfortable truths about human nature.

In addition to Hit Man, Linklater is also working on a long-term project, Merrily We Roll Along, based on the 1981 stage musical by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth. The director has already cast Oscar nominee Paul Mescal in a leading role, showcasing his ability to discover and nurture talent. With plans to continue filming segments over the next two decades, Linklater’s ambitious project underscores his dedication to pushing the boundaries of storytelling and challenging conventional norms in Hollywood.

Overall, Richard Linklater’s critique of Hollywood’s portrayal of sexuality in movies offers a thought-provoking perspective on the industry’s evolution and the potential impact on storytelling. As filmmakers like Linklater continue to explore new avenues for expressing human desires and relationships on screen, audiences may witness a resurgence of films that embrace the raw and powerful essence of sex as a driving force in cinematic narratives.


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