Katherine Waterson talked about the difficulties of being a woman with Independent in a recent interview.
Waterson had a later start in Hollywood as she stayed in New York Theater for most of her career. Adam Rapp, who was her partner for several years and also worked with her in the theater, believed it had to do with her height of six feet.
“They’d have been taking a risk casting such an Amazonian beauty,” he said.
Waterson also explains how when she was younger, all the roles offered to her were “equal parts demeaning and boring.”
She felt that she had more to offer Hollywood than what they were willing to let her. “I felt I was very smart, and hard-working, and I wanted to really be challenged and get into the weeds with other creative people. And I felt that the business wanted me to stand there and look nice, and it would be great if my skirt was a little shorter.”
Looking back Waterston wonders how much of this belief was true and how much of it was just something she told herself as someone afraid to stand up for what she thought she deserved.
So instead, she retreated back to the theater as an act of self-preservation. “I didn’t feel that I yet had a thick enough skin to go up against the patriarchy in Hollywood,” she told Independent.
After being cast in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, things changed for Waterston. She began to star in many films, including the Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts, which she’s currently filming the third movie for.
Her latest role is as a farmer laborer’s wife in The World to Come, where she and Vanessa Kirby tell the story of the women who are forgotten in history textbooks, literature, and farm ledgers.
“We felt a tremendous sense of responsibility to honor these women that had gone unnoticed and ignored for so long,” Waterston said.
Although, by taking on this role Waterston’s eyes were opened to how many privileges women take for granted today.
So, in August of 2020 when JK Rowling published a blog where she listed “five reasons for being worried about the new trans activism,” Waterston went to Instagram with a Guardian article that she underlined and circled passages which combatted Rowling’s claims.
“Because I was associated with Fantastic Beasts, it felt important to communicate my position,” Waterston told Independent. “One wondered if they might be grouped in with other people’s views by association.”