Amazon Studios has announced a new inclusion policy, including a “playbook” with sets of detailed guidelines regarding the newest policies.
Amazon is aiming to amplify more creators with broader backgrounds; there will be four areas where recommendations are provided to meet this goal. It includes: Developing Stories and Characters, Hiring and Production, Reporting and Documentation, and Meeting Goals.
Higher roles on productions like directors, writers, and producers under Amazon Studios will need to meet a minimum of 30 percent of women and people within a marginalized racial or ethnic group. That number will rise to 50 percent by 2024.
Casting an actor must match the identity of the character they will be playing. For example, if a character in a show or movie is gay, then the actor portraying this character will be gay. This encompasses gender, gender identity, nationality, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability. The project will have one character within one of the following communities: LGBT+, a person with a disability, and three regionally underrepresented race/ethnic/cultural groups. A single character can fill multiple of these identities.
Vendors or suppliers will be included in the new Amazon Studios policy. There must be women-owned, and another must be a minority-owned business. When it comes to Amazon Studios paying its actors, behind-the-scenes staff, and vendors or suppliers, it will be equal.
To be kept in check, Amazon will provide a report template will be made to determine if these policies are being met. It will need to be submitted one month prior to completing principal photography.
When developing the policy and playbook, Dr. Stacy Smith and Dr. Katherine Pieper of USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, Brenda Robinson of the International Documentary Association, and Gamechanger Films were brought on the creation. Additionally, for consulting purposes, GLAAD, Illuminative, Think Tank for Inclusion & Equity, and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund were all brought in for insight.
Amazon has made a name for itself in entertainment in recent years with its movie and television-based division. Hit shows like The Boys and Invincible have stirred up the immensely popular superhero genre with a more mature, violent take that has gone against the direction of the more family-friendly Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movies have made a mark during award seasons, especially with the pandemic restricting releasing movies in theaters and leading to streaming platforms being the host for audiences. This led to nominations and wins at the Academy Awards with films like Sound of Metal starring Riz Ahmed (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and Regina King’s (Watchmen) One Night in Miami which centered on Kingsley Ben-Adir (Peaky Blinders), Eli Goree (The 100), Aldis Hodge (Leverage), and Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton).
Productions are coming nonstop due to consistent successes. The Boys is filming its third season, which was announced before its second season hit the streaming service. Tagging along on superhero stories, Invincible will mark its return for a second season. The studio is currently developing a Lord of the Rings series, which will star Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Star Trek Into Darkness).