Becca Rose
November 28, 2014 10:00 am

It’s no secret that Hollywood has a problem with its depictions of women, but there are many prominent actresses who are taking the reins, determined to do something about it. Expect to see more films featuring complex female protagonists, like Gone Girl‘s Amy Dunne. Gone Girl, which was produced by women, illustrates that you can have a compelling female character without necessarily liking her. More and more Hollywood ladies are working on projects that take down the persisting female protagonist trope that consistently paints them in a similar way.

Here are ten actresses who are dedicated to producing female-driven fare, the kind that allows women to be flawed, intricate, messy, funny, and multi-layered. These women aren’t content with the status quo, and their production companies are out there quietly making a difference in the sexist portrayals of women in our culture.

1. Reese Witherspoon

Witherspoon owns the production company, Type A, which produced Legally Blonde (1 and 2), Penelope, and Four Christmases. Captivated by Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, Witherspoon bought the rights to it. She also helped produce Gone Girl. She’s gone on record about the lack of complex roles for women in film, especially women over a certain age, and so she decided that if they weren’t there, she’d help create them. Next year will see her star in a buddy comedy with Sofia Vergara entitled Don’t Mess With Texas, which is bound to be spectacularly hilarious.

2. Melissa McCarthy

McCarthy formed her production company, On The Day, with her husband Ben Falcone. So far they’ve got the self-written Tammy under their belt, with more options on the table.

3. Drew Barrymore

This actress formed Flower Films with Nancy Juvonen way back when, and has had a hand in many of the movies she’s made since then, including Never Been Kissed, Music & Lyrics, and He’s Just Not That Into You. She made her dual producing and directorial debut with the critically acclaimed Whip It.

4. Queen Latifah

Is there anything the Queen can’t do? She’s been running Flavor Unit Productions for a while now, which has helped produced Beauty Shop and Bringing Down the House.

5. Eva Longoria

Longoria crafted UnbeliEVAble Entertainment (possibly the best name of a production company, ever) in order to focus on bringing work to the small screen that supported women. More specifically, women of color. The actress has her Master’s degree in Chicano Studies and is committed to diversity and equal representation.

6. Brit Marling

Marling is a relative newbie on the scene, but she’s made a big impact with her self-penned and produced The East (which also starred Ellen Page). She’s got this to say about her choices as a producer and an actress: “As a kid, I was going to the cinema and not seeing the type of women I saw every day in my own life. I think about what a struggle it is to be a young girl in this world, and it makes me determined to play interesting women. I have a hard time being a part of, or even thinking about, an image system that has oppressed women.”

7. Ashley Tisdale

Tisdale formed Blondie Girl Productions recently. While the actress hasn’t yet had a lot of projects on her plate as a producer, we’re rooting for her to make an impact from the other side of the lens.

8. Jessica Biel

Biel’s got a deal with Universal Cable Productions to develop projects with her company, Iron Ocean Films. Word is she founded the company Michelle Purple because she was tired of the lack of strong roles for women. She’s got a movie coming down the line where she headlines with Jason Sudeikis, so keep an eye out!

9. Elizabeth Banks

This wonderful lady founded Brownstone Productions with her husband, Max Handleman. Their biggest success to date is a little movie about competitive acapella groups called Pitch Perfect. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Banks jumped to the director’s chair for the upcoming sequel.

10. Natalie Portman

Handsomecharlie films has created hits such as No Strings Attached and The Other Woman. Portman has said that her goal is to create raunchy and ribald comedies for women. We can’t wait!

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