Khouri at PaleyFest 2013
|Born||Carolyn Ann Khouri
November 27, 1957
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
|Occupation||Film/television writer, director, feminist, lecturer, and producer|
|Spouse||David W. Warfield (1990-?: divorced)
T Bone Burnett (m. 2006)
Nashville is the place where I first realized how impossible it is to look at someone and know what is inside them, what special something they possess.
Political stories in general are tough. They just don't appeal to as wide an audience.
To me, feminism is such a simple description: it's equal rights, economic rights, political rights, and social rights.
I don't know anyone male or female who can quote-unquote have it all. It's a made-up idea. Men don't have it all. They may have it better because they get paid more for the same work, but they don't have it all.
For me, the movies I like are all independent. And getting an independent feature made, it's like you get down to the selling organs part, and it just loses some of its luster.
Movie studios are owned by giant corporations. They care about money; they don't care about movies.
You're allowed to make things for women on television and there's not like… you don't have to go through the humiliation of having made something directed at women. There it's just accepted, whereas if it's a feature, it's like 'So, talk to me about chick flicks.'
You're allowed to make things for women on television, and there's not like… you don't have to go through the humiliation of having made something directed at women. There it's just accepted, whereas if it's a feature, it's like 'So, talk to me about chick flicks.' It's like… I don't think you want to hear my opinion about this.
With female-oriented movies, unless it's something like 'Bridesmaids' or a romantic comedy, you've got to really worry about your opening weekend. And I'm always telling stories about women, not younger women, and it's just a much tougher audience to get to the movie theater.
Whenever I've seen shows or films set here, they just don't feel like the real Nashville to me.
When people know I wrote 'Thelma and Louise,' they don't want to mess with me.
I think this happens to a lot of people, men and women, where you reach a point in your life and all of a sudden realize that things have changed. You suddenly realize that people are coming up behind you, that maybe somebody might want to replace you for less money.
The movie I've watched a million times is 'A Face in the Crowd,' directed by Elia Kazan, starring Andy Griffith and Patricia Neal. I first saw this movie, I guess I was in my early 20s. I'd never heard of it, and somebody told me about it, and I watched it and was just completely jaw-droppingly shocked at how current it was.
Chick flick is not a term used to praise a movie. Nobody says 'it's a great chick flick.' It's a way of being derisive. I'm not clear why it's ok to do it.
I want to make something that's respectful and respected. And I think you can make something for women that is respected on television.
I wrote 'Thelma & Louise' in 1988, and we shot it in 1990. Everyone kept saying, 'This is so groundbreaking… this is going to change the landscape,' but I don't see that result at all. When we saw some female studio executives, we were hopeful that more women would be hired as directors, but that didn't really seem to happen.
One of the reasons I wanted to do a show about Nashville in Nashville was because when I lived here, the hardest thing to go out and hear was country music. Country was taking place inside the studio and it was an export.
Every so often when I'm writing, a character might actually be a distinct person in my head – often not an actor or a face, literally a person who just seems to exist in my imagination. Then the challenge is finding somebody who is close enough to that to make me feel like I've ended up where I wanted to be.
One of the magical things about Nashville is just how many incredibly talented people are here and the way they support each other.
I tried to get a baseball movie made a couple of years ago and I don't think it didn't happen because I was a woman, but because sports movie don't sell internationally.
When I lived in Nashville, Tanya Tucker and people like that were coming up, and I'm sure that Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette were going, 'What's that noise? That's not country.' It's always been this battle where whoever comes up behind the reigning stars isn't country enough. There really is a lot more crossover now.
I love to start characters in a place where you think you know them. We can make all kinds of assumptions about them and think they have no redeeming qualities, but like everyone, they're complex.
There are so many screenwriters with incredible stories to tell, so I hope there will be some kind of shift in the business where very few types of movies are now made by the studios. There needs to be different budgets for different audiences; not everything having to be a huge opening weekend.
If the same energy went into marketing movies to women as they do on the other demographics we might see more of a spike.
When you look around right now, Nashville is kind of going through another changing of guard; you're watching the Martina McBrides and the Faith Hills and all of them that have been the big stars for the last however many years, and the next generation is coming in: Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, those girls.
I like writing flawed women, and being one, it's something I feel I can write with some veracity and authority.
'Gravity' is a great example of a movie that we hope they're going to do more of. It's really entertaining, with a female star. It's not the kind of film you typically see, and gives me hope.
People always ask me about 'Girls' with this kind of hesitation. What do I think of it? I love it. It's awesome. I get a lot of Where do you come down on this? I come down on the side of 'Yay, Lena Dunham. Congratulations. I'm jealous.' She's doing something so fantastic. Maybe it's not for everybody, but it certainly is for me.
I don't think any studio – it was a long shot at the time – but I don't think any studio in a million years would make 'Thelma and Louise' right now. But there's so many other kinds of movies they won't make right now.
I call myself a feminist, not a feminist filmmaker. If somebody asked me if I had a feminist sensibility it would be pretty hard to deny, but is it the theme of my work? Not necessarily. I'm interested in a lot of things.
There's a lot of head-shaking and forehead-slapping when you start to realize just how deep-seated misogyny can be, how systemic and entrenched certain modes of thinking are that are still very much alive.
What I'm mainly interested in is not having women characters that have to be perfect, obviously. That's something I feel strongly about and have that in every single thing I've ever done.