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Collective voice needed to bring change: 'Peter Rabbit' actress (IANS Interview)

Comments  Comments [ 0 ]    By IANS | 17 February 2018 | 11:08am

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki is delighted with the ongoing dialogue around balancing the gender scale and diversity in Hollywood. Known for "The Great Gatsby" and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2", she says women are still vulnerable but they have realised the power of working towards change hand-in-hand.

"It is not like people aren't vulnerable any more, but there is an understanding that we are stronger together as women," Debicki told IANS over phone from Los Angeles in an India exclusive interview.

"Women all over the world, from many different types of workplace environments, are understanding that if we come together and voice our collective experience, then we have a lot of power to make change. We don't need to be in the dark any more and we can be heard and we can support each other," added the actress, who is looking forward to Sony Pictures Animation's "Peter Rabbit".

A wave of sexual harassment accusations swept Hollywood following a newsbreak exposing producer Harvey Weinstein. The news about powerful men using their positions to exploit people associated with showbiz hasn't stopped since then.

From Ben Affleck, Brett Ratner, Charlie Sheen, Dustin Hoffman, James Toback to Kevin Spacey and James Franco, several Hollywood men have been accused of sexual assault and harassment. The stir has resulted in initiatives like #MeToo and Time's Up -- with women of Hollywood getting together and demanding equality and more power.

Debicki feels the movements are "gaining a lot of momentum".

"It is such an incredible, important conversation," added the actress, who juggles her personal life in Australia with her professional commitments in the UK and the US.

Debicki, who entered showbiz in 2011 with a small role in "A Few Best Men", stressed the importance of dialogue for diverse representation on-screen, gender balance and women empowerment.

"I am so glad that the dialogue is happening and that people are able to come forward and voice their opinion. The world is a richer place -- the more we have compassion, the more we hear as many voices as possible."

On her stance regarding the diversity debate, she said: "It is really exciting where it is taking us in terms of the type of films which we are making. Even the way the people the film projects. (They are) open to their voices being heard and speaking up and speaking with courage and it is really an exciting time."

From her role as the evil Ayesha in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2", brief appearance as a friend of the female protagonist in "The Great Gatsby", riding instructor Mrs. G in powerful sexual abuse drama "The Tale" to the light-hearted movie "Peter Rabbit" -- Debicki has taken up diverse and varied roles to prove her mettle as an actor.

The 27-year-old says "Peter Rabbit" -- based on the classic tale by Beatrix Potter about Peter Rabbit and his family -- is relevant in the current times.

The film narrates the adventures that Peter Rabbit (voiced by James Corden) and his sisters Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail (Margot Robbie, Debicki and Daisy Ridley) undergo to reclaim their home. It highlights the tussle between humans and animals.

"Peter Rabbit", also starring Domhnall Gleeson and Rose Byrne, is being brought to India by Sony Pictures. It will release in the country on February 23.

"I think the message in 'Peter Rabbit' is really important for children and for adults. The film is about accepting that everybody around you is different. They all have their imperfections. We are all learning in life, but if we can live life with compassion and love people around us then we sort of are happier... we are better people.

"It is such an important thing to teach children. In 'Peter Rabbit', it is about different animals, animals and humans, and the boundaries that have been put out that don't need to be there... and if we can get rid of those boundaries, we will all be happier," she said.

(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at sugandha.r@ians.in)



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