A PRETTY FACE
PREY FOR HER
it.’ So that helps excuse the behaviour. And we look like arseholes if we call them out because these are big stars. We need to stop, take a breath and make room for the next generation of directors and producers, who aren’t going to be abusing women and abusing their power along the way. Because we may miss the next Tarantino that comes up – who isn’t actually like that.”
Munn’s refusal to play nice is perhaps in part due to her itinerant childhood. The second youngest of five children born to an American father and a Vietnam-born Chinese mother, she spent much of her youth in Japan, where her Air Force stepfather was stationed. After her mother and stepfather’s divorce, she relocated to Oklahoma while still a teenager, where she appeared in school plays and developed a love for media. She went on to study journalism at the University of Oklahoma and following graduation decided to head to LA and pursue acting. She landed a gig as one of the hosts of gaming television series Attack Of The Show!, an appropriate training ground for a self-professed “geek” who had years earlier “got to the top 30 in the World Championships of the Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament”.
Right from the start, Munn was choosy about the roles she took, citing concerns about how women were being portrayed. Even still, her attractiveness was something of a sticking point for those who didn’t trust that she had earned her keep. When she was added to the line-up of satirical news program The Daily Show in 2010, her critics were quick to point out that her minimal experience and lack of acting credentials, arguing that it was ultimately her good od looks that helped secure the role. She was met with the same ame derision when she was cast in Aaron aron Sorkin’s Emmyaward winning series ries The Newsroom in 2012. (As to that topless pless scene in Magic Mike the same year, r, she maintains it was anything but gratuitous.)
For her latest role ole in The Predator, a sequel of sorts to the he hit 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger thriller hriller Predator, Munn worked with director Shane Black to ensure her character was portrayed as a strong woman. “Why are guys always shown as knowing nowing what to do [ with weapons], s], and women aren’t?” Munn wonders. onders. “I didn’t want her to be like ke Lara Croft, but when she needs to survive, like anyone, she knows how to step tep up and bring it.” It helped that Munn n could back herself up physically – she earned a black belt in karate as a child, ld, and is a rare example of an actor r who does most of her own stunts. Although she does admit she was s reluctant to learn karate at the he start, she now tells Stellar, “It’s It’s ended up being such a hugely useful l skill.” kill ”
But back to Munn’s looks, which remain a hot topic and are, despite a growing CV and a proud run of activism under her belt, still the key focus of one too many critics. At this point, Munn is done trying to placate them. Instead, she points to the fact there is no shortage of attractive women kicking goals in her industry. “Cate Blanchett is gorgeous, Natalie Portman is gorgeous, Meryl Streep is gorgeous, Kerry Washington
is gorgeous,” she says. “Those women are n not just gorgeous, b but we’re ’ talking lki i iconic. So when I hear actresses say that they don’t get something because they’re too pretty or their boobs are too big, it just doesn’t make sense. Because then you have to discount all the beautiful women, and it’s a disservice to what we really want to happen. Of course if somebody hurt you along the way and derailed your career, speak up, call them out.and we’ll be there to support you.”