Six superb actresses ruled the stage at Comic-Con's Hall H on Saturday.
Right before the madness of the Marvel Studios panel (and in front of a large captive audience), Entertainment Weekly's "Women Who Kick Ass" discussion brought out Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy), Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow), Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story), Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) and Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones) for a more laid-back but still quite thought-provoking talk about their characters, the challenges women face in Hollywood and how TV has changed the game for female roles.
Each woman spoke about acting their way through what scared them about their roles, with Maslany -- who plays nine different clones on her show -- saying, "As soon as I have fears or doubts, it’s like that’s where you have to go as an actor, because then all the surprising stuff comes out of there.” Sagal cited being raped by white supremacists and putting a gun to a baby’s head as two of the more challenging moments she's faced on her show.
Dormer was perhaps the most outspoken on the panel, forcefully citing television as being the place for all the best female roles now: "Where television is fantastic and is way ahead of film is it doesn’t feel the need to polarize women so much," she proclaimed. "Male writers, and I say this with all love and respect, often want to make a woman either the angel or the whore -- make her the witch, or put her on the pedestal. When people ask me about Margaery, I say they’re not mutually exclusive."
Paulson, who revealed she is playing a woman with two heads on the next season of American Horror Story, joked that she wants to quiz Maslany about playing multiple personalities/characters. Beharie, meanwhile, told the audience in response to a fan question that she was glad the producers of Sleepy Hollow have not made the relationship between her character, Abbie, and Tom Mison's Ichabod turn romantic (although there may be a new character introduced soon who might turn Abbie's head).
Williams spoke about the psychological damage that is being inflicted on Arya on Game of Thrones, saying, "She’s a 12-year-old girl living in this world, and we all like to brush that aside, that she actually just put a sword through someone’s throat ... you can’t live your life like that and be okay in the head forever.”
The panel concluded with a fan asking each of the women which superhero they would like to be. Williams chose Spider-Man for his agility and because he's not as in-your-face as other superheroes. Maslany picked Rafael from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for his accent. Beharie chose the Hulk so that she could really get on people if they pushed her buttons. Sagal wasn't sure if Caesar from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes qualified as a superhero, but she picked him anyway. Paulson selected Wolverine because "I look like that in the morning," and Dormer picked Batman because she finds his psychology fascinating.
You know what? These six women are all kind of superheroes already.