We really did a lot to make sure that we were on par with the “50/50 by 2020” motto in Hollywood, which is making sure that when you crew up, you do it with the lens of equity. Every step of the way you have to combat the unconscious bias of hiring men in all those positions. Not that anybody’s malicious about it. They’ve just always used Bob and Dan and Joe, so they’re going to [keep using] Bob and Dan and Joe. And until we expose them to and tap into a new talent pool of women and people of color, change isn’t going to happen.
In the midst of making “Grand Hotel,” you left to play the mother of Dora the Explorer in “Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” out in August. How exciting is that?
It’s the biggest movie I’ve ever done and to bring to life one of the biggest icons of the Hispanic community — and then to find out she’s a global icon everywhere. My friends are calling me from London, from Germany, going, “Oh my God, you’re doing ‘Dora’!” I was like, How do you know who she is? I had no idea that she was in countries all over the world teaching English — she taught us Spanish in the United States.
You’ll soon be directing your first feature, “24-7,” with Kerry Washington. What are you two up to?
It’s a comedy about women in the workplace in a post-“Time’s Up way” — just poking holes into some realistic situations that women have to deal with, whether it’s men stealing their ideas at work or balancing motherhood with career or the mean girl, women hating women. And also ageism. Kerry and I in the movie are teamed up with this millennial. We’re like, ugh, gosh. [Laughs.] True stories and laughing at that so that people can swallow the medicine a little.
Speaking of Time’s Up, what accomplishments stand out to you so far?
First of all, the global conversation about work harassment. We kicked a bees’ nest and everything is buzzing. We see Time’s Up branches in France and Time’s Up branches in China and women everywhere standing up and uniting to say, “Look, we demand a safe workplace environment.” So that’s what I applaud the most.
The legal defense fund is also something we’re very proud of. We just took on the women who are suing the F.B.I. for gender discrimination. We took on the McDonald’s workers who were getting harassed and couldn’t get promotions. When we launched Time’s Up a year and a half ago, it was a coalition with restaurant workers, with domestic workers, with hotel workers, with farm workers. There are so many sisterhoods that have been created through the work of Time’s Up that I’m really proud of.