The Women In Gold star Helen Mirren turned 70 a few days ago, and she’s apprehensive why so many people are interested in how she is aging. Appearing on Good Morning Britain, the hosts expressed they couldn’t believe she was indeed 70 when she appears to look so much younger. In response, Mirren retorted, “Why can’t you believe it? Yes I do, I look 70 … with a lot of make up. I do totally look 70.” She later described their line of questioning about her age as “boring.” When one of the hosts attempted to explain that people are intrigued with age because she “looks fantastic,” Mirren bluntly stated, “I don’t understand your fascination with it, and I don’t think you’re fascinated with it. You’re just saying what your editor told you to say.”

This is not the first time the Oscar-winning English actress has spoken frankly about her thoughts on agism. Recently at the Wrap’s Power Women Breakfast it was revealed to Mirren that 37-year-old Maggie Gyllendall was turned down for a role because she was too old to play the romantic partner of a 55-year-old man. Dame Helen Mirren was not at all surprised to hear this, but was outraged, saying, “It’s f—– outrageous!…And so annoying. And ’twas ever thus. We all sat there, you know, watching James Bond…as James Bond got more and more geriatric, and his girlfriends got younger and younger.”

Mirren is among the elite category of actresses who have managed to keep working consistently over the decades such as 65-year-old Meryl Streep and 52-year-old Julianne Moore. Indeed, even the megastar Streep noticed a shift in the roles she was offered after she turned forty: a heap of evil witch roles.

Although men endure agism on the silver screen, it’s often argued that it’s worse for women as the years pass. This phenomena is nothing new; consider that less than twenty-percent of Shakespeare’s roles were written for women.

But Gladiator star, and director Russell Crowe has some ideas regarding why the lack of work exists for actresses over the age of 40–and he blames the females themselves. “To be honest, I think you’ll find that the woman who is saying that is the woman who at 40, 45, 48, still wants to play the ingenue, and can’t understand why she’s not being cast as the 21 year old,” Crowe remarked to Australia Women’s Weekly. “Meryl Streep will give you 10,000 examples and arguments as to why that’s bull—, 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 can’t be the Gladiator forever,” he continued.

Many people have pointed out that 50-year-old Crowe is allowed to appear his age–salt and pepper hair, furrowed brow, laugh lines and all. On the contrary, the actresses that endure tend to maintain their exceptional beauty as they age regardless if they’re playing a witch, a queen, or an Alzheimer’s patient. Take Mirren, for example, who truly maintains a youthful quality and remarkable beauty.

What do you think? Does Crowe have a fair point to make, or is he being ignorant? Is Mirren right on the money or do you think she’s overreacting to people who are simply paying her a compliment? Also, do you personally feel affected by agism in Hollywood?

 

 

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