In a recent interview Russell Crowe, 50, makes a comment about how women around his age should be playing age appropriate roles. Basically he wants women in Hollywood to stop trying to be 21. I guess that means the fashion franchise Forever 21 would go out of business. But there’s more.
Crowe continues to say:
“To be honest, I think you’ll find that the woman who is saying that [the roles have dried up] is the woman who at 40, 45, 48, still wants to play the ingénue, and can’t understand why she’s not being cast as the 21-year-old. Meryl Streep will give you 10,000 examples and arguments as to why that’s bullshit, so will Helen Mirren, or whoever it happens to be. If you are willing to live in your own skin, you can work as an actor. If you are trying to pretend that you’re still the young buck when you’re my age, it just doesn’t work.”
I quite agree with what Crowe is saying. I would love to see women act their own age. Pun intended. It would be nice to see confident actresses who take on challenging roles that are not meant for the young adult literature crowd.
But the reality is that Hollywood isn’t as kind to women as we’d like them to be. There are unspoken double standards and rules that apply to women actresses that don’t necessarily apply to men. The box office numbers indicate that it’s hard enough to find a challenging or high-profile role as a woman of any age, but especially for a woman who is aging. Just look at the the top 2014 highest grossing films: only three star women in leading roles—The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1, Maleficent, and X-Men: Days of Future Past—and none of those women are over 40. Meanwhile, four of those top 10 films have men over 40 in headlining roles.
Personally, I am of the opinion that Hollywood is a little more biased to women, especially producing/selecting older women for roles, but I also think that women in hollywood pine to be 21 forever. If hollywood would do their part and start casting older women for appropriate roles, and if women would do their part and stop acting like they will never age, then maybe there will be a happy medium.
We could only be so lucky.
But enough about what I think – what are your thoughts on this issue?
H/T to Jonathan Newman for the article via Entertainment Weekly