Maggie Gyllenhaal revealed that she lost out on a movie role because she was told she was “too old” to play a 55-year-old man’s love interest on-screen. “There are things that are really disappointing about being an actress in Hollywood that surprise me all the time,” she told The Wrap. “I’m 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55.” This has been going on forever. When Michelle Pfeiffer starred in The Russia House opposite Sean Connery, she was 32. He was 60. I guess she just made the cut-off. I recall her saying, “nobody in Hollywood blinked” about their age difference.
EPIC TIMES asked for my candid reaction to Miss Gyllenhaal’s statement. I gave it to them:
“Maggie Gyllenhaal’s experiences with ageism are by no means unique. I’m not sure what the thinking is in casting a college co-ed to play a middle-aged man’s love interest. Perhaps 50-something men, going through male menopause, think that flanking themselves with young women will be the antidote to their own aging. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. This does not make a man seem younger or more virile, but accentuates his age. The experience and confidence that comes with age is something to be relished in both women and men – not buried.
I remember when Kevin Costner cast Mary McDonnell as his love interest in Dances With Wolves. She’s a fabulous actress, but also a couple of years his senior. Their chemistry worked. Whenever a leading man is content to be side by side with a woman his own age, it’s so refreshing – and out of the mainstream – as to make it noticeable. But that film was made 25 years ago! What are we doing today?
Salma Hayek also went on the record recently saying that certain (not all) male actors would return scripts to her where the smart female dialogue had been dumbed down, making sure to give the best lines to the guy. Clearly, the conventions of sexism, ageism and the male-female pecking order are still in operation in Hollywood, much as they are in Congress today, where men grossly outnumber women – and male bosses sideline female staffers. These conditions only change when we draw attention to them – and object!
But Gyllenhaal says she’s optimistic because despite these obstacles, actresses are doing ‘incredible work right now, playing real women, complicated women’. They’ve just got to fight a lot harder for those opportunities.”
Read the full story at usmagazine.com.