Remember earlier this year when Russell Crowe suggested that older actresses who complain about not getting work are the ones delusionally seeking ingenue-type roles? He insisted that Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep would “give
you 10,000 examples and arguments as to why [complaints of ageism are]
bullshit.” Not so. Recent Tony winner Mirren sounded off on ageism in Hollywood at a breakfast hosted by The Wrap yesterday.
When Mirren was asked about Maggie Gyllenhaal’s admission that, at 37, she was “too old” to play a 55-year-old man’s love interest, she responded bluntly: “It’s fucking outrageous. Fucking outrageous. It’s ridiculous, honestly. It’s so annoying.” The “Woman in Gold” star insinuated that the double standards for aging male and female actors are nothing new, saying, “We all watched James Bond as
he got more and more geriatric, and his girlfriends got younger and younger.
It’s so annoying.”
For her part, Streep divulged that as soon as she turned 40, she was immediately offered a number of witch roles, a disturbing but predictable indication of how Hollywood sees aging women: wrinkly and monstrous. Streep launched a fund for women screenwriters over 40 in an attempt to help remedy the situation. The program endeavors to combat sexism behind the scenes and onscreen: diversifying who tells stories diversifies the stories themselves.
Crowe may want to reconsider speaking on behalf of other people and using their names to lend credence to his preposterous, ignorant claims. Mirren and Streep are exceedingly rare examples of older actresses who get major roles — and even they aren’t immune to age discrimination. They’re certainly not blind to it. We wish Crowe wouldn’t use poor anecdotal evidence to assert an out-of-touch worldview that’s so dismissive about the very grim reality his female colleagues face.
Watch Mirren sound off below.