Blake Lively on women in Hollywood, directing and possible 'Gossip Girl' reunion

As one of Variety's Power of Women honorees, Blake Lively will attend a lunch on Friday in support of Child Rescue Coalition. For this week's issue, the actress spoke about women in Hollywood, shooting in New York for "Gossip Girl," and what she looks for in a role.

There's been a national conversation recently about gender disparity in Hollywood. Have you experienced that?
Yeah, I've felt that. It's hard to complain when there are women who are being sex trafficked, women being treated as objects and product. Yes, it's important to have that conversation, because equality is equality. I feel fortunate. It's still to far from what it should be for women in 2017.

It's important to remember that half the audience of ticket buyers are female. Are you interested in doing tentpoles?
I don't look at movies by the budget. I look at movies by the character. What was neat about "The Shallows," it was really low budget. It was a $17 million movie and we did over $120 million worldwide. It's cool to do that with a story about a woman. It's proof people want to see movies about women. It doesn't all have to be Nicholas Sparks-type films. When you look at a "Star Wars" franchise now versus the "Star Wars" franchise then, there are women at the center.

See Blake Lively's best style moments of 2016

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Blake Lively's 2016 style
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Blake Lively's 2016 style
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 08: Blake Lively attends the 'Deadpool' fan event at AMC Empire Theatre on February 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 17: Blake Lively attends the Michael Kors show during Fall 2016 New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Spring Studios on February 17, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 17: Blake Lively is seen on February 17, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Gardiner Anderson/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 18: Actress Blake Lively is seen walking Soho on February 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
EW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 18: Blake Lively seen leaving her New York Hotel on February 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Team/GC Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: Actors Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively arrive for the State Dinner in honor of Prime Minister Trudeau and Mrs. Sophie Trudeau of Canada at the White House March 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Blake Lively attends 'Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology' Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
US actress Blake Lively poses on May 11, 2016 during a photocall for the film 'Cafe Society' ahead of the opening of the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France. / AFP / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 11: Blake Lively arrives at the Opening Gala Dinner during The 69th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 11, 2016 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Venturelli/WireImage)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 11: Blake Lively attends the screening of 'Cafe Society' at the opening gala of the annual 69th Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 11, 2016 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Tony Barson/FilmMagic)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 12: Blake Lively attends the Amazon Studios 'Cafe Society' press luncheon during the 69th annual Cannes film festival on May 12, 2016 in Cannes, France. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for BCG)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 12: Blake Lively attends a Vanity Fair dinner at the Tetou restaurant during the 69th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 12, 2016 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Neil Mockford/Alex Huckle/GC Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 13: Actress Blake Lively attends the 'The Shallows' photocall at the annual 69th Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 13, 2016 in Cannes, France. (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 13: Blake Lively seen at Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez during the 69th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 13, 2016 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Neil Mockford/Alex Huckle/GC Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 13: Blake Lively attends the 'Slack Bay (Ma Loute)' premiere during the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 13, 2016 in Cannes, . (Photo by Venturelli/WireImage)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 14: Blake Lively attends 'The BFG (Le Bon Gros Geant - Le BGG)' premiere during the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 14, 2016 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Venturelli/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20: Blake Lively is seen heading to her Manhattan hotel on June 20, 2016 in New York, New York. (Photo by Alessio Botticelli/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20: Pregnant Blake Lively steps out in a bright blue off-the-shoulder key whole dress on June 20, 2016 in New York, NY. (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20: Blake Lively is seen on June 20, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Team GT/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20: Actress Blake Lively is seen walking into 'The Today Show' on June 20, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 21: Actress Blake Lively is seen on the streets of Manhattan on June 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 21: Blake Lively seen on the streets of Manhattan on June 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 21: Actress Blake Lively attends 'The Shallows' World Premiere on June 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 21: Actress Blake Lively attends the 'The Shallows' world premiere at AMC Loews Lincoln Square on June 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 21: Blake Lively is seen on June 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Team GT/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 22: Blake Lively seen on the streets of Manhattan on June 22, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 12: Blake Lively seen on the streets of Manhattan on July 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 12: Blake Lively seen on the streets of Manhattan on July 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 13: Blake Lively seen on the streets of Manhattan on July 13, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 15: Actress Blake Lively is seen walking in Soho on July 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 21: Blake Lively attends the Target launch of Cat and Jack at Brooklyn Bridge Park on July 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 16: Actress Blake Lively attends the L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth Celebration 2016 Arrivals on November 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for L'Oreal)
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Do you think there could be a sequel to "The Shallows"?
I don't know what would happen. I hope not; I'm not ready to go work out like that again. I'm about to do a movie in a couple months where I'm playing a woman who is a fighter.

Have you started boxing?
I'm not there yet. I'm getting my back strong.

What speaks to you in a script?
I look for interesting women. It can be a woman in every frame of the movie or it could be a woman that's in one scene, but I look for characters that I connect with. Having a family and having worked on a show for six years, it really made me want to do work that I love. And it leads to greater success, which only means more opportunity to do that again.

Would you ever want to direct?
I'm really drawn to it. I think I would do it later in life. It's two years and it becomes your baby. While my kids are young, I wouldn't want to do that.

Netflix has been rebooting old TV shows. Do you think they could ever do a "Gossip Girl" reunion?
I don't know. Why not?

You'd do a grown-up version with the cast?
It sort of all depends. Would I do seven years of the show? No, because it's hard work and I've got my babies, and I don't want to be away from them that much. But I've just learned in life you never say never. I'm looking to do something that I haven't done yet, not something that I did. But would I do that? Who knows — if it was good, if it made sense. We had so much fun shooting and living and working in New York City.

The show glamorized Manhattan for a post-"Sex and the City" generation.
Josh [Schwartz] and Stephanie [Savage] refused to do the show in Toronto. They said, "No, New York City is the star of the show." And so they fought for it to be made in New York. If we would have been in Toronto, I don't know if we would have made it past our first episode.

I can't imagine the show being set in a fake New York.
We were always in the coolest new spots. It was almost like a city guide as well as a fun show to watch. We were one of the first people to be at Sleep No More.

Would you go back to TV?
For me, it's about good content. My favorite new things I've seen this year have been shows over movies, between "The OA" and "Stranger Things." I finally watched all of "Game of Thrones" and "Westworld." I love being an audience member of long-form story telling. I would only want to be in a show that I would want to watch.

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See photos of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds with their kids

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Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds show off their kids
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Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds show off their kids
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 15: Actor Ryan Reynolds and Actress/wife Blake Lively and with daughters James and unrevealed at Ryan Reynolds' Star Ceremony On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame on December 15, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
Actor Ryan Reynolds holds his daughter James as his wife Blake Lively looks on the Deadpool actors Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in Hollywood, California on December 15, 2016. / AFP / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 15: Actor Ryan Reynolds and Actress/wife Blake Lively and with daughters James and unrevealed at Ryan Reynolds' Star Ceremony On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame on December 15, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 15: Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds with their children attend a ceremony honoring actor Ryan Reynolds with Star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on December 15, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 15: Actors Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and daughters attend the ceremony that honored Reynolds with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on December 15, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 15: Actors Ryan Reynolds (L) and Blake Lively pose with their daughters as Ryan Reynolds is honored with star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on December 15, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 15: Ryan Reynolds (L) and Blake Lively with their daughters attend the ceremony honoring actor Ryan Reynolds with a Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame held on December 15, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
Blake Lively (L) and her daughter James cheer at the Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony honoring her husband Actor Ryan Reynolds with a star in Hollywood, California on December 15, 2016. / AFP / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 15: Actors Ryan Reynolds (L) and Blake Lively pose with their daughters as Ryan Reynolds is honored with star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on December 15, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
Actor Ryan Reynolds (R) holds his daughter James as his wife Blake Lively holds their unnamed new baby during the Deadpool actors Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in Hollywood, California on December 15, 2016. / AFP / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
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