It has just been announced that Warner Bros. Animation will be breathing new life into Flintstone characters like Fred, Wilma, Barney and others. In conjunction with Elizabeth Banks’ production company, Brownstone Productions, the new Flintstones comedy will be a primetime animated show geared towards adults.
Variety first reported news of the new “Flintstones” program, explaining that Banks is becoming “increasingly active” as a producer in recent years. “The Hunger Games” actor says she made the move behind the camera because she felt frustrated by the lack of opportunities as a woman in Hollywood.
“I was a frustrated actress. I was bored,” she tells The New York Times. “The types of movies and the roles that I thought I would be playing, they didn’t exist. They’re not making female stars. I’m not turning into Reese Witherspoon.”
Banks is following in the footsteps of many hard-working and talented actors who come to realize that sexism in Hollywood limits their opportunities. In response, these women — including Jodie Foster, Natalie Portman, Drew Barrymore and Margot Robbie — have created their own production companies.
“We’re clearly seeing more women realizing that if they want substantial roles, they will have to create them,” Martha Lauzen, the executive director of the San Diego-based Centre for the Study of Women in Television and Film, tells The Independent.
The importance of women working in production cannot be overstated. In Lauzen’s recent study, her research showed that when films have at least one female writer or director, 57% of the protagonists are women. Alternately, when there are no women writing or directing, then only 18% of the protagonists are women.
In other words, putting more women behind the camera ensures that we’ll see more women in front of the camera, playing roles that are complex, meaningful and inspiring rather than merely decorative. No doubt we’re going to see Wilma, Betty and Pebbles bring that female empowerment into the cavemen days and beyond.
Hanna Barbera’s “The Flintstones” first aired on ABC between 1960-1966, with 150 episodes detailing the Stone Age lives of Fred and Wilma and their neighbors Barney and Betty. Each couple had one child during the course of the show — little red-headed Pebbles for the titular family and the adopted, abnormally strong Bamm-Bamm, with his ever-present club.
Part of the show’s popularity had to do with the ways in which these suburbanite cave dwellers, though living primitively (with some humorous corollaries to modern-day technology), dealt with concerns familiar to those in the present.
Since the series’ original run, several attempts have been made to refresh the show and its characters, including one that focused on Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm as young adults, TV specials, a 2011 reboot that never got off the ground, and two live-action movies.
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