Kristin Scott Thomas of The English Patient has joined rank with the likes of Meryl Streep, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as another over-40s woman who finds herself increasingly disillusioned at Hollywood’s ongoing dismissal of women once they’re past a certain age. It’s a widely discussed problem and one that, unfortunately, seems here to stay.
While men are handed heroic action roles well into their 50s and 60s (hello, Bruce Willis), as well as retaining their younger female counterparts as arm candy, women, on the other hand, are more often than not typecast as the token ‘oul one’. Or even a scraggily old witch, as seen with Meryl Streep’s most recent turn in Into the Woods. Once of a certain vintage, women cease to take the centre stage.
Here’s what Kristin Scott Thomas, one of our absolute favourites, has to add to the ageism debate. In her view, it’s a total sh*t-show in Hollywood, a complete disaster: “I won’t bore you with all the stories of older women not getting jobs in film because it’s so boring. But it’s true – it’s a disaster,” Kristin recently said on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show.
Why is it boring to discuss, she was asked?
“Because it’s never going to change. Until the average life-span is 150 years or something, I don’t think women in their 50s are going to be considered at all viable. I think that’s what it is. Sorry,”
Elsewhere, while backstage at The Jimmy Fallon Show, Dame Judi Dench recalls being told that she simply didn’t have the face for movies. WHAT? Yes, idiots.
“I went and met (the director) and I was at the Old Vic at the time and he asked me some questions and in those days, you weren’t filmed and he said to me, ‘Well it’s been very nice meeting you but I’m sorry not this film and probably not any film as you have every single thing wrong with your face.’
“Well I got to do a few films after that so I’m very pleased he was wrong.”
Will women of a certain age continue to be invisible in Hollywood? Will people like Kristin Scott Thomas perpetually be placed next to younger leading ladies whose faces won’t know the meaning of the word ‘wrinkle’ for at least another twenty years?
We’re with you, Kristen; it’s time for a change.