#MissMUFF: Jane Goldman
#MissMUFF is our newest monthly feature. With #MUFFapproved, we celebrate a specific film but sometimes one woman is responsible for more than one amazing film and we wanted a way to celebrate them. Think of #MissMUFF sort of like one of those wall calendars but instead of a different cute kitten for each month, we're highlighting a badass woman in film. Way better than kittens!
Jane Goldman: Screenwriter
Kingsman: Secret Service, Kick-Ass, X-Men First Class, Stardust
April is always a busy month for MUFF. Last year we skipped doing a screening entirely because so many of us MUFFians get busy working Hot Docs. This year we’re doing it! Well, they are. I am here in London living my life and saying “bin” instead of “trash can” and pretending I’m British but due to landing a new job, April has also been a busy month for me.
I really wanted to do my first #MissMUFF for April, though, and I knew exactly who I was going to write about too. It came to me last month when I was practicing my ukulele and watching Kingsman: The Secret Service, as one does: Jane Goldman.
If you don’t know who Jane Goldman is, shame on you. She’s a screenwriter and okay, screenwriters are definitely less prominent than directors but she is responsible for writing some of these most kick ass (this will be hilarious in about 15 seconds) films of the last 10-ish years, so you have no excuse. NO EXCUSE.
She often collaborates with writer and director Matthew Vaughn and together they have co-written the screenplays for Stardust, Kick-Ass (see, hilarious!), The Debt, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past (story only), Kingsman: The Secret Service, and the upcoming sequel to Kingsman, which apparently features a “massive fucking frankfurter” and if she is in any way responsible for that I will literally die.
Goldman is also a successful solo screenwriter and wrote the screenplay for The Woman in Black and the upcoming Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Also, also, remember that short from a few years back that featured Daniel Craig as 007 in a dress for National Woman’s Day?
Yup. She wrote that too. (And it was directed by Sam-Taylor Johnson.)
Basically she’s amazing and has one of the coolest fucking resumes I’ve ever looked at. Fallen stars, Nicholas Cage in a moustache, mutants, ghost stories—seriously, the coolest.
HOLY CRAP, and speaking of ghosts, were you aware that Jane Goldman hosted her own paranormal television series in the early 2000s? Because of course she did! I had no idea until I started my fact-checking for this piece. It’s called Jane Goldman Investigates the Paranormal and it’s on Youtube and you’re welcome.
Where was I? Ah, right, yes: Jane Goldman is awesome. I think what I love the most is that she writes films that most certainly would end up on those lists I hate the most. You know, the “10 Films Unexpectedly Written or Directed By A Woman!” ones. How did she do that? She is a lady and there is so much manly fighting in that Kick-Ass one. And blood. Gross!
I hate those lists—hate them so, so much—but then again they’re on point because I remember when I screened Point Break at MUFF and some guy was all, “Why are you screening that?” and I was all, “Kathryn Bigelow, duh!” and he had no idea she had directed it. And I do revel in that feeling of smugness when I’m telling somebody about a film and they go, “Oh, a woman did that?” Yes, she fucking did. And don’t forget it. Because women can do anything.
Like Jane Goldman. She spoke with Melissa Silverstein at Women & Hollywood a few years back about not getting pigeon-holed into “typical” women screenwriter stuff (which is apparently romance films but don’t tell that dude who wrote The Notebook screenplay) and said, “I wouldn’t want to write something I wouldn’t want to watch. But I am aware that I had a great advantage in having started off in things were more genre but hadn’t been pigeonholed. Every day I rejoice when my agent calls me up and says you’ve been offered this action movie or this horror movie you would very much expect a male writer to be offered. And it absolutely makes me jubilant to not be trapped in that. […] There’s things female writers I know get offered are usually not the things the male writers tend to get offered. And I have been very fortunate in that I do appear to get offered things that would more usually be offered to a male writer. I suppose it’s like with actors. As a writer you can get type cast as well.” (+)
I could go on forever about Jane Goldman, but I should probably wrap this up because I know you are itching to watch her paranormal TV series. But I leave you with these few tidbits: her friend Neil Gaiman suggested she adapt his novel Stardust. Let me repeat that: her friend Neil Gaiman. She’s an executive producer of one of my favourite things ever, The Big Fat Quiz of the Year. She plays video games with her husband (some dude from BBC). And she loved Cabin in the Woods.