In the wake of the footwear scandal at Cannes that will go down in infamy as “Flatgate,” one of the most talked about things in Jurassic World is not the genetically modified dinosaurs or the performance from new summer action hero Chris Pratt, but the fact that his co-star Bryce Dallas Howard managed to (or had to) spend the entire movie running through the jungle in high heels. High heels in general are getting a lot of backlash lately as women, particularly in the entertainment world, are questioning the pressure to wear the uncomfortable shoes in order to improve their appearance.
Dallas Howard has spoken about the preparation she went through to spend all of Jurassic World running in stilettos numerous times during her press junket for the movie. Variety reports that at the film’s premiere the actress said, “I think my dad is going to be more scared that I ran around the entire film in high heels than any dinosaur chasing after me. At the beginning I was kind of against the idea of wearing them, but then one day while looking at the terrain prior to a shoot, I just looked at Colin and said, ‘I think I’ll keep the shoes on.’” No explanation was given for why director Colin Trevorrow insisted on making her wear high heels for the entire movie.
Later during an appearance on The Late Late Show With James Corden, Corden spoke about the ridiculous nature of walking high heels, much less running, and asked the actress what she had to do to get ready for that kind of physical challenge. “I trained for running in heels as if I was in the Olympics,” she responded. Corden then produced a pair for Pratt to attempt running in himself. While Pratt didn’t fall down, he didn’t exactly make the task look easy.
The fact that Dallas Howard’s footwear is coming under such scrutiny is a sign of progression. It’s no longer taken for granted that all women at all times under the eye of the Hollywood camera should be wearing high heels no matter the circumstances. Even if her character is a corporate type who would wear heels in the office, it really seems like she would ditch the shoes at some point while running for her life in the jungle.
Forcing her to keep them on seems like a move from a ‘50s B-movie, like the pin-up-girl-slash-scientist played by Julia Adams in Creature from the Black Lagoon. While Creature is a sci-fi classic in its own right, women in monster movies definitely don’t need to continue being portrayed in that way. Julianne Moore’s character in the first Jurassic Park sequel The Lost World is a great example of a (also redheaded) female lead in a monster movie who looks great while wearing more practical clothing/footwear for being chased by a dinosaur. She’s far from the only one.
This is only the latest in a bad year for high heels in the entertainment industry. The footwear already suffered an incident at the Cannes film festival, when it was reported that several women attending various Gala screenings were turned away for not wearing heels, which certain members of the Cannes security interpreted as being underdressed for the event. ScreenDaily first reported that women trying to attend a screening of the drama Carol, which was widely pushed by Cannes as an example of gender equality at the festival given the female producers, subject matter, and two lead actresses, weren’t allowed into the theater because they were wearing flats instead of heels.
The report emphasized that some of those women could not wear heels “for medical reasons.” This news promptly blew up on the Internet, with others reporting similar issues at the festival. The director of the Amy Winehouse documentary Amy said that his wife was also denied entrance because of her footwear. Emily Blunt was at the festival promoting her new film Sicaro and spoke on the subject saying it was “very disappointing.”
“Everyone should wear flats to be honest. We shouldn’t wear high heels anyway,” Blunt said at a press conference, per Yahoo News. Her comments brought more attention to the matter. Festival head Thierry Fremaux tried to sweep the controversy under the rug by saying that the festival does not require women to wear heels and that the whole thing was the result of some overzealous security guards who were misinformed that women needed to be in heels. “Regarding the dress code for the red carpet screenings, rules have not changed throughout the years (Tuxedo, formal dress for Gala screenings) and there is no specific mention about the height of the women’s heels as well as for men’s,” he said in a statement to ScreenDaily.
Dallas Howard hasn’t really given a good explanation for why her character never takes those shoes off, or why she trained herself to run through the muddy jungle in stilettos except to land a part in this movie, so the likely reason is that there’s just not a good reason. The studio wanted her to look sexy in the movie so they could sell tickets and so she was told she had to wear the shoes. Unfortunately for them and fortunately for actresses and women, people are much more critical of the idea the all women in movies must wear high heels all the time, even when being chased by genetically altered dinosaurs.
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