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Helena Howard says it's challenging for female directors because they're not given "the respect or authority role"

Courtesy of Quibi

Helena Howard knows a thing or two about starring in a female-directed feature. The actress, who stunned audiences with her breakout performance in the Josephine Decker-directed film Madeline’s Madeline, now leads the cast of the Catherine Hardwicke-directed Quibi series Don’t Look Deeper.

Howard tells ABC Audio that there’s a lot of benefits to having a woman behind the camera, even though it’s usually a struggle for them to get there.

“Working with the women that I’ve been able to work with you see them really assertive,” Howard says. “And they have to be because in this industry females have not been given the respect and the authority role that men have been given.”

“And that’s why I guess you see fewer well-known women directors,” she continues. “But they’re out there. And just like writers and everything and producers.”

While it’s often a challenge for many women to make their mark in directing, Howard says that even when they do, it’s still an uphill battle.

“And they’re leading the charge because they have that instinct like a mother does,” she says. “But at the same time, they don’t take any nonsense because they can’t. Because as soon as anyone gets the sense that they’re weak, then they’ll start slacking off or not really give the respect that a director should be given or following any orders.”

Thankfully, Howard says, that wasn’t the case for Hardwicke, who easily garnered everyone’s respect.

“So when working with Catherine, it was really great because she respects the cast and the crew the way that she would like to be respected,” she says. “And at the same time she’s there for everyone and offers a really safe space.” 

Don’t Look Deeper, also starring Don Cheadle, is now available to watch on Quibi.

By Candice Williams
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