Fuse is celebrating Women's History Month by looking at a variety of rising forces who are creating Future Women's History before our eyes. Today we're highlighting the successes of British actress Felicity Jones.
Jones started her acting career at the age of 12, starring in British films and TV before studying English at Wadham College, Oxford. While there, Jones continued to flex her acting muscles by pursuing theater work. After graduating, Jones jumped back into acting and gained widespread acclaim for her role in 2011's indie romance drama, Like Crazy. The film was made on a shoestring budget (Jones did her own hair and makeup) with completely improvised dialogue, earning her a Special Jury Prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
Since then, her star power has only grown: She starred opposite Eddie Redmayne in 2014's The Theory of Everything, where she portrayed Jane Wilde Hawking. The role landed her Best Actress nominations from the Academy Awards, BAFTA, Golden Globes and SAG. Her most recent endeavor was starring as Jyn Erso in 2016 Star Wars' standalone movie Rogue One.
Jones is open about being a feminist and how that affects that affects her career choices. Speaking about playing Jyn in Rogue One, she told Glamour:
"I’ve always been a feminist, and what I love in my work is being able to explore a full-sided woman and not patronize her. Particularly with Jyn, it’s such a rare opportunity to be able to play a female who’s not just thinking about [romantic] relationships."
The characters she plays are carefully considered, as she went on to add: "I’m keen [to make sure] that the woman isn’t asking too many questions. Sometimes that can be an issue—she’s always asking questions and never speaking in statements."
Speaking about her role in Inferno opposite Tom Hanks, Jones told Deadline.com that she'd picked the role because her character was equal to Tom Hanks', both intellectually and personality-wise. She also said:
"I just always want to play people. I don’t want it to be necessarily that you relate to the character as female or male, but that you relate to them as a person. That’s the driving force.
But I think it’s almost taboo now, not to have nuanced female characters. I think audiences want them. We live in complicated times, and film has got to reflect that, and reflect the nuance and changing ideas of gender."
While film casts' salaries aren't normally making headlines, it became a topic of conversation that Jones took home more money than her Rogue One castmates. Sadly, the wage gap is very real for women in Hollywood, as Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams learned after being paid significantly less than their American Hustle co-stars. To hear that Jones negotiated her salary to seven figures upfront — which she rightfully deserved — was revolutionary. Speaking to Glamour about this, she said:
"We want to be paid on parity with a man in a similar position. And I think it’s important to talk about it ... Now younger actresses will have a confidence in those discussions with their agents and be able to say, 'Can we make sure that I’m being paid the right amount for the work that I’m doing?'"
Whether she's fighting for women in film to be represented with humanity and intelligence, or calling out the Hollywood wage disparity, Felicity Jones' feminist force is unstoppable — and we can't get enough of it.