Earlier this summer, Helen Mirren called Hollywood’s ageist double standards “fucking outrageous.” The “Woman in Gold” star elaborated on the challenges facing older actresses in a recent interview on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.” The actress acknowledged that landing roles as an aging actress in Hollywood is “more of a struggle [than it is for men].”
“[E]ven Shakespeare did that to us,” Mirren continued. “As you get older, even the Shakespeare roles become [less substantial for older women] — that’s why we have to start stealing the men’s roles — doing like I did in “The Tempest,” [by changing the role of Prospero to] Prospera. And it’s great that a lot of women are doing Hamlet, doing “Henry V,” and I’m sure there will be a female Othello soon. And I love that. I think it’s absolutely great because, you know, why not?”
The Oscar winner also suggested that we ought to be more concerned about the limited roles available to women in real life than in fictional worlds “because as night follows day, as the roles for women in real life change, they will change [on screen].” Mirren does, however, remain convinced that, like her, we should continue to “moan and complain” about the lack of interesting older female characters.
When asked about whether she has any interest in playing Hillary Clinton, Mirren responded that the presidential candidate “would be a wonderful person to play somewhere down the line,” adding that someone “will do a story because she has had… an extraordinary trajectory” with “unbelievable challenges.” Mirren, who has also won a Tony and Emmy, predicted that “in terms of roles for women in drama… it would be good to have Hillary as president,” though she wouldn’t say whether or not Clinton would get her vote.
Her starring vehicle, “Woman in Gold,” is currently the highest-grossing indie film of 2015.
Watch Mirren discuss older women in Hollywood below.