Oh, do I sympathize with Emily Blunt here:
Usually the female parts in a superhero film feel thankless: She’s the pill girlfriend while the guys are whizzing around saving the world. I didn’t do the other ones because the part wasn’t very good or the timing wasn’t right, but I’m open to any kind of genre if the part is great and fun and different and a challenge in some way. I would love to do a comic-book movie or a science-fiction film that would scare the bejesus out of me. Maybe I need to be James Bond! I just did Looper, because it’s so original and breathtakingly cool. The time-travel aspect is just a backdrop to visit this heightened world, where you’re atoning for something and attempting to be more than you’ve been.
I actually thought Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique in X-Men: First Class was a considerable improvement on this score: she got to be angry, and to make choices, and to have messy feelings about her looks and sexuality. And the way the part was written, it had lovely resonances with her character’s abandonment by Magneto in X-Men: The Last Stand. And oh do I have hopes for The Avengers, if Joss Whedon can resist killing off or emotionally torturing Black Widow or Maria Hill. But if your’e an intelligent female actress, most superhero movies—and most action movies, for that matter—have nothing to offer you other than a paycheck. And if you can afford to turn down one paycheck in favor of another, why take work that’s thankless, and that you have little to no hope of elevating?
The whole thing actually reminds me of the insanity of awards-season dresses. If talented and famous actors were more willing to turn down or not read for work that bored them because they can make a living on the interesting stuff, Hollywood might become a more thoughtful, creative place in a jiffy. But it’s far easier for the industry to distract people with large checks and shiny cars than to embrace creative risk-taking, even risks that seem like they’d have a decent shot at paying off.