Actress Heather Graham’s directorial debut shines light on sexism in Hollywood

It took Heather Graham nearly seven years to write and direct “Half Magic,” a non-traditional comedy and her directorial debut, as she fought against sexism in Hollywood and a system that she says is stacked against women.

“They said people don’t care about women’s stories,” the actress and director told FOX Business’ Liz Claman. “Women’s movies don’t make money. If you want to make money, write about a man.”

“Half Magic,” which was released in theaters on Feb. 23, details the lives of three women who are attempting to navigate work, friendship and sex while also trying to find empowerment in a society dominated by men. In order to get the movie produced, Graham herself had to fight against sexism in Hollywood, she said.

“To even write a movie and to have the confidence that it’s going to happen is hard. And then to get the money to make it is hard,” she said. “And then to get the distribution is hard. And once it comes out, a lot of men then are writing about it. To get to your market, you have to go through all of these men to get to the women that you want to watch the movie.”

Although women account for 52% of moviegoers, women only represented 8% of directors, 10% of writers, 2% of cinematographers, 24% of producers and 14% of editors for the top 100 grossing films of 2017, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.

The movie comes in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal in October, when The New York Times and The New Yorker reported that the film executive and Miramax Films co-founder had sexually abused dozens of women over a period of at least 30 years, often threatening to derail their careers if they didn’t comply.

One of those actresses is Graham, who accused Weinstein of trying to offer her a starring role in one of his films in exchange for sex. When she declined, she was never hired for any of his films.

Now, she says the release of the film in the midst of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements – both of which are seeking to end sexual harassment against women – could be a positive force for change.

“Every hardship we faced along the way to get this movie made, now the movie is coming out at a perfect time,” she said. “I guess maybe there’s some good force in the universe that made this movie come out at the right time where people are open to hearing women’s stories.”