The Hollywood Reporter ranked the Top 50 iconic female characters of all time. From Elle Woods in Legally Blonde to Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, the list is as complex, varied, and incredible as women in television and cinema are. We’ve listed their top 5 picks and you’ll definitely need to check out the rest of the list!
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5) Dana Scully
Anderson nearly lost the part of the skeptical FBI agent when she became pregnant during the first season in 1993. “One network exec wanted to replace her,” recalls creator Chris Carter. “But the writers hatched the plan to have her kidnapped, and that choice changed the direction of the show — for the better.”
4) Miranda Priestly
Streep enjoyed playing the imperious fashion magazine editor so much that she stayed in character throughout the 2005 shoot. “She felt it was necessary,” says the film’s producer Wendy Finerman. “She couldn’t jovially hang around because that would have lost the magic, all the tiptoeing around her.” The actress also chose to wear a gray wig inspired by Carmen Dell’Orefice and maintain that deadpan whisper, recalls screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna. “She had tremendous insight into what her demeanor would be: the calm at the center of the storm, someone who talks so quietly that others have to lean in. Meryl understood the power of stillness, and how people can use their composure to unnerve others.”
3) Buffy Summers
“Buffy balanced the horrors of adolescence with the horrors of the Hellmouth, which made her extremely relatable,” says Gellar, who spent her own adolescence portraying the high school superhero from 1997 to 2003. “We are all haunted by demons, but with Buffy, it was literal. Demons literally haunted her.”
2) Princess Leia
Both male and female survey takers placed Leia in the top 10 — No. 2 for women, No. 6 for men — which jibes with Fisher’s own take on the character. “I was something women and men could agree on,” she writes in her just-published memoir, The Princess Diarist. “They didn’t like me in the same way, but they liked me with the same intensity, and we were all fine with the other sex liking me, too. Isn’t that weird?”
1) Hermione Granger
Without this clever, Muggle-born little witch, Harry and Ron still would be pulling their wands out of their noses. “Her empathy, her sense of integrity, her decency and resolute belief in fighting for justice and fairness — even when her earnestness made her an easy target for ridicule — they’re all unwavering,” the character’s biggest fan, Watson, who played Hermione in the $7.7 billion-grossing films, tells THR.
During the long audition process for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Watson was asked if there was anyone else in the series she’d be interested in playing. “There was never a question in my mind: I was in love with Hermione,” says Watson, who began playing the whip-smart witch at age 11.
The character, from the mind of J.K. Rowling, was not only extremely smart, but also kind and, often, the voice of reason in the trio of best friends. “She’s all head and all heart,” says Watson.
The one change that Watson fought for? She was determined to get “her out of those ridiculous tartan skirts in the first two movies,” which she accomplished by the third film in the seven-film franchise.
“Hermione made it OK for girls to be the smartest in the room. To be a leader, the one with the plan,” says Watson. “She’s not just a role for me, she’s a symbol. I am deeply proud to have played her.”
See the full list here.
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