She’s smart. She’s funny. She’s a 20-something-year-old Saudi woman growing up on the Moon. That’s Jazz Bashara, the protagonist of Andy Weir’s newest sci-fi book, Artemis, and a soon-to-be-made feature film by producer Aditya Sood ’97.
“She resembles [The Martian’s] Mark Watney in spirit and intellect but is otherwise a completely fresh hero for the 21st century,” explains Sood, president of Genre Films, the production company behind the hit films The Martian, Deadpool and Deadpool 2.
This newest project for Sood is part of the growing change in Hollywood that Sood is excited to be a part of. “The biggest thing happening in entertainment right now is that there’s more and more options for viewers than ever before—the era of one-size-fits-all is going away,” says Sood. “You’re seeing that manifest itself in an increase of representation, in terms of the stories that are being told, the people telling the stories, and the people representing those characters on screen.”
“The superhero world—movies like Wonder Woman and Black Panther and the upcoming Captain Marvel—the success of those movies is no surprise. The smartest filmmakers and studios are getting ahead of this.”
Sood adds that there’s still a long way to go but audiences will continue to enjoy more diverse films because they continue to demand stories that reflect themselves.
He wants Pomona readers to heed his words: “I want people who read this, whether they’re students or alumni, who haven’t thought before that [the entertainment industry] speaks to them because of their backgrounds, that we need more writers, executives and producers who come from diverse backgrounds who can tell these stories authentically.”