Award-Winning Screenwriter Uses Crowdfunding Campaign to Change Hollywood's Ideal of Beauty
9/11/2015, 4:43 p.m.
Michael Elliot Media announced a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com to fund a new romantic comedy that will feature a plus-size actress as the primary love interest in the film. The campaign is being called Project Plus-Size Movie Star.
"The media, especially television and film, significantly affects how and what we think," Michael Elliot, an award-winning screenwriter and CEO of Michael Elliot Media, said. "By rarely ever seeing plus-size women as love interests in films, Hollywood is perpetuating a view that plus-size women aren't desirable, sexy, or beautiful, and that they are unimportant.
This is a message that needs to change, and this film – and hopefully the films that could be made as a direct result of it – will play a significant role in changing this message."
Elliot wrote the romantic comedies Brown Sugar (2002) and Just Wright (2010), which starred Queen Latifah and Common. "I loved Queen Latifah as the reassuring best friend in Brown Sugar, but I loved her more in my film Just Wright, where she rocked a sexy black dress in the film's first five minutes, owned a home, was accomplished in her career, and played the film's romantic lead – without a single reference to her weight or body type," Elliot said.
Elliot hopes the Project Plus-Size Movie Star campaign will reach its funding goal of $1,250,000 and enable him to shoot the currently untitled film next summer.
"I believe that if this campaign reaches and exceeds its funding goal, it will send a message to Hollywood that there is tremendous support for films that feature plus-size women in starring roles," Elliot said. "And should this film do well at the box office or in television ratings, Hollywood studios and networks will see the economic viability of films starring plus-size actresses, and fund more of them.
More positive images of plus-size women in film will not only affect how women, including my own daughters, view themselves and how others – both men and women – view other women, but begin to destroy the longstanding Hollywood ideal of beauty that is neither realistic nor accurate."
Elliot's film writing credits include: Carmen: A Hip-Hopera (2001), which launched Beyonce's film career; Like Mike (2002), which starred rapper/actor Lil' Bow Wow; Brown Sugar (2002), with a notable cast including Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Mos Def and Queen Latifah; and Just Wright (2010), for which Elliot received the 2011 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture.
Elliot is also the owner of Hammer & Nails, a men's hand and foot grooming shop in Los Angeles, CA.