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Russell Crowe Has A Theory About Why Older Actresses Can’t Find Work In Hollywood

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Actresses of Hollywood, listen up! Russell Crowe is here to explain why there are parts for women of all ages in film, even older women. His evidence? Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, “or whoever it happens to be.”

In an interview with The Australian Women’s Weekly, Crowe praised the film industry for offering roles for “people in all different stages of life,” and he adamantly denied that actresses over the age of 40 have trouble finding great roles.

“To be honest, I think you’ll find that the woman who is saying that (the roles have dried up) is the woman who at 40, 45, 48, still wants to play the ingénue, and can’t understand why she’s not being cast as the 21 year old.

“Meryl Streep will give you 10,000 examples and arguments as to why that’s bullshit, 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.”

Speaking animatedly now, Russell continues: “I have heard of an actress, part of her fee negotiation was getting the number of children she was supposed to have lessened. Can you believe this? This (character) was a woman with four children, and there were reasons why she had to have four children – mainly, she lived in a cold climate and there was nothing to do but fornicate all day – so quit arguing, just play the role!

“The point is, you do have to be prepared to accept that there are stages in life. So I can’t be the Gladiator forever.”

I am sure that Crowe’s anecdotal story about the actress negotiating the number of children is true. Hollywood is a strange place, and the people who choose to live and work in it are just as strange. However, studies have shown that the film industry is an easier place for white men like Crowe and is more likely to offer him a wide range of roles than his female or non-white counterparts. To brush off all of these concerns as the troubles of vain actresses trying to hold onto their youth is really insulting.

The fact is that he can only list Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren before running out of names of prominent older actresses. I am happy that Crowe has found work beyond Gladiator, but not every actress gets the opportunities afforded to him. Perhaps he could take some time to read some excellent recent studies from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media and the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies. It might be 2015, but there is still a lot of progress that needs to be made.

Source: The Australian Women’s Weekly

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