Equity – Anna Gunn, Alysia Reiner, Sarah Megan Thomas Talk Wall Street She-Devils

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Anna Gunn from “Breaking Bad,” Alysia Reiner from “Orange is the New Black” and Sarah Megan Thomas from “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” star in the female-skewed Wall Street drama Equity, in which women behave as badly as men when it comes to making money. The Sony Pictures Classics opens Friday.

The trio of female stars, along with screenwriter Amy Fox, turned up at a special Mamarazzi screening hosted by “The Moms” and Chevy Tri-State at the Crosby Street Hotel Tuesday afternoon to promote the film. Following the screening, the Moms’ Denise Albert led a talkback with the cast and screenwriter.

Equity
Equity’s Amy Fox, Sarah Megan Thomas, Anna Gunn and Alysia Reiner, and The Moms’ Denise Albert | Paula Schwartz Photo

Some interesting highlights:

Sarah Megan Thomas and Alysia Reiner on how she came to produce Equity:

Sarah Megan Thomas: I love Wall Street movies. I think they’re so interesting but they don’t speak to my heart. They’re in general pretty misogynistic, and I wasn’t that deeply interested in this world until I started talking to women who work in this world and hearing some of their stories … and how similar they are to women in my industry… The way women in corporate America are treated just blew my mind and the inequity made me go, ‘Oh my god, we have to make this movie!’ And it was so exciting then to delve into some of the stories we wanted to tell, hearing these real life stories and being able to put them into a movie and do these women justice.

Alysia Reiner: That was one thing we talked about form the very beginning before we wrote the story is how we do show as much diversity of human experience among women in the working world as possible.

On whether woman can have it all:

Anna Gunn: I remember being pregnant with my first child who is now 13 – and I have a 9 year old too – but when I was five months pregnant with my now 13 year old I remember a man saying to me, ‘Oh you’re pregnant, well there goes your career,’ and I was shocked. It was like being slapped across the face… It stunned me so much, I reeled back… and it really started to worry me and I remember going home, crying, (thinking) is that really true? It’s not true but it’s an incredibly difficult balance to have… We want to be a good mom and be around and take them to school to make them lunch, to be there when they’re going to bed. Sometimes you can’t because you’re working so it’s a very fine balancing act… But what I have found, being a mother has made me a better actor. I leave my work on the set or on the stage and I am able to do that, and I hope that it’s also teaching my daughters that they should go out and can go out and do the same thing.

Equity
Equity’s Amy Fox, Sarah Megan Thomas, Anna Gunn and Alysia Reiner, with The Moms’ Denise Albert | Paula Schwartz Photo

About the importance of money and the lines from the film that say, “I like money… We have to do it for ourselves. Don’t let money be a dirty word.”

Alysia Reiner: I think it’s so empowering for women to embrace that it’s okay to like money. We don’t talk about money. My husband know exactly what I get, knows exactly what his friends are making and that’s a conversation that they have with each other. I’ve never had that conversation (with women), but now I’m beginning to.”

Sarah Megan Thomas: Money is access. It’s power. It’s all sorts of things that women historically deny.

About sexual harassment in Wall Street, which is touched on.

Sarah Megan Thomas: Sexual harassment was on our mind, that we wanted to talk about (along) with many issues with that film, which is when you’re in the business of sales and your clients are mostly men, how do you dress and how is that dress perceived? And how one man’s compliment can be seen as inappropriate or one man’s comment can be totally inappropriate and then also doesn’t pay. Who knows? It’s a very complex issue. And we wanted to very subtly have it show that what you wear in this business of sales, the choice you make has large repercussions.

On what Anna Gunn said she learned about women having a psychological and emotional edge:

One of the things that I talked about when I was doing research is that she (the consultant) said so much of working with clients and investors is a real balance between understanding exactly who you are working with and what they need from you. And the psychological and emotional intuition that women have is a real asset in this business because it’s not necessarily … in no way was she saying use your sexuality, she was just saying, understand who the person is and whether they need a firm hand or a motherly sort of nurturing quality….

You need to understand whom you’re dealing with and working with and use that to your advantage… I remember one day when she came on set when we did the boardroom scene, and she said, ‘Oh yeah, I have to leave about 5:30, I’m going to deal with a hostile takeover.’ And she was so pumped for it… She said, and on those days I choose to wear either a pink suit or a red suit depending on what message she wants to put across and she also said, I also stand up and walk around a lot because it’s disarming, and she said I also tend to, I know how to calm people down by just touching them on the back. It’s all those subtle psychological things that are very similar to what we do as actors.

Equity opens in theaters today.

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Paula Schwartz

Paula Schwartz is a veteran journalist based in New York who is passionate about the movies. Her idea of heaven is watching three movies in a row. She’s written for various outlets, including the New York Times, Showbiz411, More and MovieMaker Magazine. For five seasons, she contributed to the New York Times seasonal movie blog, Carpetbaggers, where she covered major awards events and interviewed stars like Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman and Helen Mirren.

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