Naomi Watts revealed the ageist and sexist advice she was once given.
Watts, who starred in David Lynch’s iconic “Mulholland Drive” at age 33, was told by industry insiders that her career would end by 40, or until she was no longer “sexy.”
“I was told, ‘You better get a lot done because it’s all over at 40 when you become unfuckable,'” Watts told Entertainment Weekly. “And I’m like, ‘What? What does that mean exactly?’ Then you think about it, and you go, ‘Oh, right. When you are no longer reproductive, when those organs are no longer functioning, you are not sexy, so, therefore, you are not hirable.’ That just made me so mad.”
Since Watts’ breakthrough role in 2001, she has since accumulated two Oscar nominations and is currently leading Ryan Murphy’s Netflix true crime series “The Watcher.” Yet there is still a ticking clock for women in Hollywood, no matter their level of fame or accolades.
“It’s such an awkward conversation because, from day one, we begin our aging process,” Watts explained. “It’s something we just all have to get comfortable with and women are asked to do it more than men. We don’t talk about a man aging hardly ever. We don’t talk about his gray hair. In fact, if we do, it’s like, ‘Oh, he gets more handsome, more desirable, more powerful.’ And why is he powerful? Because he’s accumulated experiences. Well, it should be the same for women. We’ve got important and powerful experiences as well at this age that we should feel proud of.”
In addition to “The Watcher” opposite Bobby Cannavale, Jennifer Coolidge, and Mia Farrow, Watts’ led horror film remake “Goodnight Mommy” and is poised to play Babe Paley in mega-producer Murphy’s “Feud: Capote’s Women.” The cast also includes fellow over-40 starlets like Chloë Sevigny, Demi Moore, Diane Lane, and Calista Flockhart. Tom Hollander will play Truman Capote. Watts executive produces the series, which is directed by Gus Van Sant.
“I love mystery, I love addressing fears. I find that fun as an actor to play,” Watts told IndieWire about being drawn to the horror-thriller genre. “There’s so many things, so many different emotions that come under the umbrella of fear. It’s been a while though since I danced with this world, and so it felt good to come back into it.”