Well, quite

It is the perennial complaint of the Hollywood actress: why are there so few parts for older women?
But Anne Hathaway, the actress, has admitted she cannot complain about younger rivals getting all the best roles, because she benefited from the same discrimination in the past.
Hathaway, the Oscar-winner, said she had inadvertently poached parts written for older women when she was in her 20s.
Now, she said, she has found fewer roles for women her age, with competition for each film just as fierce as ever.
“I can’t complain about it because I benefited from it,” the 32-year-old told Glamour magazine.

As has every pretty woman….

31 thoughts on “Well, quite”

  1. It raises the question of why women appear in films: is it for their acting ability, or as eye-candy. If parts written for older women can be won by 20 year olds, it suggests the latter. And I suspect these women can’t get roles when they’re older because they can’t act for shit. There have been some magnificent performances by women in films, but startlingly few by those who top-bill in Hollywood. I suspect there are plenty of roles for older women, but not in the type of films which formerly young and pretty starlets think they should be starring in, and they are probably too shit at acting to get the role.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    Tim Newman – “I suspect there are plenty of roles for older women, but not in the type of films which formerly young and pretty starlets think they should be starring in, and they are probably too shit at acting to get the role.”

    I am not sure. Eight year olds, to grossly generalise, don’t mix much with the opposite sex. In fact they tend to go “eeewwww yuck!”. Then the hormones hit and suddenly boys become interested in girls.

    Perhaps at the age of 35 or so, depending on a host of factors, the hormones are not telling men to be interested any more and older women revert to the status quo ante.

    There might be lots of roles for older women. But who would want to pay good money to see them?

    I have been toasted nicely around here for saying men are mostly uninterested in women over the age of 27. But it is interesting to see an Australian Gay man admit that the same, more or less, is true for the Gay community:

    (And a warning for the link, the newspaper appears to be an Australian version of the Guardian, except that this writer writes utterly self-indulgent tripe even by the standards of that sad rag)

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/gay-death-they-say-30-new-25-20150819-gj3726

    This weekend I turn 25 and, as a paid-up member of the homosexual community, that means I am perilously close to witnessing my own funeral.

    “Gay death”, as it is termed, is the unfairly early age at which gay men are no longer deemed to be fun, attractive or valuable by their youthful peers. If, as I am reliably informed, 30 is the new 25 when it comes to gay death, then surely 25 is at the very least “gay retirement”.

  3. There might be lots of roles for older women. But who would want to pay good money to see them?

    Quite. There is a market for decent female actresses of any age. This market is quite small. There is also a market for female “actresses” who can’t act for shit but look pretty. This market is enormous.

  4. But let’s say you’re making a film or TV show, and there’s a role requiring a Doctor’s Assistant. In real life the assistant could be male or female, aged 22-65 (but probably not a female of child-rearing years because she’d be busy child-rearing), of average looks, and not wearing much make-up (because you don’t want to distract your patients).

    And yet the producers will inevitably cast a pretty 19 year old female with massive knockers and a killer smile, because it maintains the viewers attention.

  5. Tim Newman,

    Until the 1950s you had films driven by female characters like All About Eve. Joan Crawford and Bette Davis could bring in a crowd. Then TV came along and older women stopped going to the cinema and watched TV instead.

    The audience for cinema is mostly people under 40 – and they don’t want women over 40. Women want characters around their own age, men want eye candy.

    What this stupid “sexist hollywood” argument misses is that Hollywood is both TV and movies. And there’s lots of TV series that are led by women.

  6. bloke (not) in spain

    Well the subject certainly needs further investigation.
    Be a good idea to put Miss Marple on the case.

  7. Women make up half the population, and women are free to see movies whenever they want (in the Western world, at least). There’s a huge market there if women actually wanted to see films with older actresses playing lead roles. But ticket sales show that they don’t.

    It’s not that those sort of films never get made because of sexist producers. Sometimes they do, but they always sell relatively small numbers of tickets, despite the huge numbers of females who could have bought tickets.

    So it isn’t just that men don’t want to see movies with older lead actresses in them. Women (mostly) don’t either.

  8. Tim N is right. There is no shortage of roles for older women. There is a shortage of glamorous leading roles for older women — same as in real life. This is one area in which Hollywood is actually quite realistic.

    And the ones who (a) are great actors and (b) aren’t obsessed with only taking glamorous leading love-interest roles don’t seem to have this problem. Cate Blanchett isn’t about to run out of work, and neither will Emily Blunt when she starts getting wrinkles. Christine Baranski’s doing fine. Hathaway’s actually a brilliant actress, and this statement shows she’s realistic about the business, so I suspect she will do OK.

    The key is being willing to be unattractive. Russell Crowe was right about that. And look at him: he was a literal pin-up after Gladiator, but he hasn’t thrown away his career by insisting on only playing smouldering muscle-bound heros. He’s quite happy to play a fat scruffy slob.

    Currently watching Bosch. Amy Aquino is haggard and brilliant.

  9. bloke (not) in spain

    It’s obviously a market thing.
    Not the bit about there being a lack of roles for older women in films, because punters prefer younger, attractive totty.
    But there being a demand for newspapers to print articles highlighting this. The clearing rate seems to be at least one every two months.

  10. >I have been toasted nicely around here for saying men are mostly uninterested in women over the age of 27. But it is interesting to see an Australian Gay man admit that the same, more or less, is true for the Gay community

    Sort of, but not exactly. What that idiot seems to be saying, in his confused way, is that gay men under 25, are (mostly) not interested in hanging around with gays over 25 (or maybe it’s 30), because they get a bit boring (hosting dinner parties, not partying til dawn, etc.), and — possibly — because men over 27 are not as attractive as they once were.

    This seems to me to mostly be a reflection of the general fact (in the modern Western world, at least) that groups of people in one half of their twenties don’t like to hang out (for the most part) with groups of people in the other half of their twenties. This less to do with sex — both members of both groups may fancy certain members of the other group — and more to do with the fact that each group finds the other, for the most part, very boring.

  11. It’s Anne Hathaway. It’s not her age stopping get getting parts, it’s her pointy elbows. At least according to some round these parts.

  12. I always assumed that Joanna Lumley’s career petered out because she can’t act.

    Mind you, I don’t have much patience for the Meryl Streep sort of performance – look at me, dahlings, I am ACTING! Am I not a wonderful ACTOR?

    The Blanchett lass, though: what a fine turn she did as Elizabeth I.

  13. Kathy Burke got parts in her twenties and still gets them now because she’s a bloody brilliant comedian and actress.

  14. > I don’t have much patience for the Meryl Streep sort of performance

    God, no, me neither. Bloody Oscar fodder. And Sean Penn can fuck off too.

    > Why is no one saying “Wait! Anne Hathaway is OLD???!!!”

    I thought that went without saying.

  15. Yep. I remember Selina Scott complaining about this, though not with the apparent honesty Ms Hathaway has for it.

    Those of us who remember the show “Scott Free”, the only programme more tedious than watching the test card, will wonder if she benefitted from the same.

  16. Older actresses…The Mamma Mia! film packed cinemas with fifty-something women, portraying as it does the ultimate Shirley Valentine fantasy. Unfortunately this sort of thing is a niche market. The major studios, all in California, generally make films for customers aged 14-34 – and 34 year old men, as Hathaway confirms, tend to fancy 24 year old women.

  17. So Much For Subtlety

    DMS – “Why is no one saying “Wait! Anne Hathaway is OLD???!!!””

    I can’t believe anyone thinks AH is pretty. She does, or did perhaps, have a nice pair of elbows.

    bloke (not) in spain – “But there being a demand for newspapers to print articles highlighting this. The clearing rate seems to be at least one every two months.”

    Well no one hates women like other women. Especially older women hating on younger women. If you are ever charged with rape, hope you get a jury full of older women. So the market is there to exploit this divide.

    Tel – “Sort of, but not exactly. What that idiot seems to be saying, in his confused way, is that gay men under 25, are (mostly) not interested in hanging around with gays over 25 (or maybe it’s 30), because they get a bit boring (hosting dinner parties, not partying til dawn, etc.), and — possibly — because men over 27 are not as attractive as they once were.”

    Actually he makes it clear that it is about the sex:

    “Gay death”, as it is termed, is the unfairly early age at which gay men are no longer deemed to be fun, attractive or valuable by their youthful peers.

    The first two words are fun and attractive. The dinner parties and the cats are just a substitute for the lack of interest from the sexually desirable parts of the Gay community. As you would expect. Men like young women. They are remarkably uninterested in older women. You would think Gay men would be no different.

  18. “Why is no one saying “Wait! Anne Hathaway is OLD???!!!””

    Well, considering she married Shakespeare in 1582, she would be.

  19. SMFS, I don’t read, ‘fun, attractive and valuable’ as just being about sex. Partly about sex, yes, but not entirely or even mostly about sex.

    When I was in my early 20’s they were many women in their mid-late twenties I would have loved to have shagged, but it was just too difficult to relate to people that age. And when you’re older any fantasies you have about shagging a 20-year-old are brought back down to Earth pretty rapidly once you start talking to them and realize how inane they are. This all applies to gays as well.

  20. I think there’s a case for women wanting to see nice men – especially rich famous nice men. I seen a study somewhere that showed that women were far more likely to buy tickets for male music bands, and men weren’t very bothered with all female bands.

    So women like nice men. Men like nice women. Women tend to not discriminate against older men – and as a Darwinian explanation, it’s possibly because older men are still mostly fertile, and very often have more resources than younger men – mammalian sexual instincts are obviously a powerful driver for desirability. Yet using the same Darwinian explanation for older women – they are not fertile, and often don’t have much resources of their own (not that men naturally seek women with resources).

    This explanation is not making any commentary on the fairness of such a system – merely speculating that these biases may naturally exist. Older women don’t get roles because the women like men, and the men don’t like older women…

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