Who’s Right? Helen Mirren Vs. Russell Crowe on Aging in Hollywood

July 31, 2015

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?



A Fresh Face for Casting Calls?

December 3, 2012

The ever-youthful Goldie Hawn has been working in the entertainment industry for forty-five years and recently celebrated her 67th birthday! She started her career as the zany airhead on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as Walter Matthau’s suicidal fiancée in 1968’s Cactus Flower. Hawn is featured on the cover of this month’s Prevention Magazine as a star who defies the laws of age and aging. Indeed, she seems to defy the laws of gravity itself. In fact, many have commented that Goldie looks very similar today to the “It” girl  she was of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Goldie contends the key to her youthful appearance is her “spiritual well-being,” and credits meditation, yoga, Pilates as well as regular exercise with burnishing her youthful glow.

Ok, so who’s buying this? Think of your sixty-seven-year-old grandmother with her well-earned wrinkles and drooping neck line. Some plastic surgeons have speculated for years Goldie has had a face lift, fat grafting to her cheeks, and more than a little Botox to help her appear about 15 years younger than her actual age. She’s certainly not the only one in Hollywood to have to entertain such rumors; the list is too lengthy to even begin.

So you, young thespian, with your chiseled features and taut complexion, would you ever consider defying age with help from a syringe or scalpel? Well, if acting is something you want to be doing for a good while, this is an issue you’re going to have to face eventually. Whether you’re Sylvester Stallone, Jane Fonda, Arnold Schwarznegger, or Nicole Kidman, to have or not to have plastic surgery is an ever-present question, and a valid occupational concern. Everyone has the right to do with their own bodies as he or she wishes, but actors are well advised to have both a short-term and a long-term strategy when it comes to aging in Hollywood–because growing older, after all, is inevitable even for those with the most enviable genes. Cate Blanchett has expressed,“I’m not sitting on a soapbox telling women what they should and shouldn’t do, but I know what works for me…In the end, if you have all that stuff done…you just see the work. It doesn’t fill me with admiration, it fills me with pity.”  On the other hand, Mila Kunis has stated, “I will not put a needle in my body unless I have a medical reason, but ask me in 10 years. Right now, I’m like, ‘I’m going to embrace it,’ but … I’m probably going to want to have something done. I have no doubt.”

What are your thoughts? How important do you believe plastic surgery is for the longevity of an actor’s career?