Newsflash: Hollywood directors are ageist and sexist. Next they’ll be telling us the world isn’t flat.

Actress Hope Davis has broken rank and criticised the Hollywood producers that asked her to play Johnny Depp’s mother despite the fact she’s a year younger than him.

She admitted to feeling “peeved” at the fact that producers want to cast young, attractive women to play older roles, rather than the older women themselves. Hang on a minute – Hollywood obsessed with youth and beauty? Swipe me, Guvnor, I had no idea.

Last year, Demi Moore complained about the ageism she was encountering in Tinseltown, and claimed she couldn’t land roles due to the inherent sexism in Hollywood. Having spent an estimated $450k on cosmetic surgery to defy Old Father Time, physics and reason, Demi now looks younger than I did when I was born.

Demi Moore today: She does it all with smoke and mirrors

Demi Moore today: And they said my long lens and periscope were extravagances

But despite the knee lifts, the nose jobs, the suction, the peels, the implants, the personal trainer, the yoga, the kick-boxing, the live-in nutritionist, the time machine, the virgin’s tears, the portrait ageing in the attic and the pact with Satan, she’s still struggling to find anyone interested in giving her a job.

“It has been a challenging few years, being the age I am, almost to the point where I felt like, well, they don’t know what to do with me,” said Demi.

“I’m not 20. Not 30. There aren’t that many good roles for women over 40. A lot of them don’t have much substance, other than being someone’s mother or wife.”

An artists impression of Demi striking the same pose if she hadnt succumbed to the knife

An artist's impression of Demi striking the same pose if she hadn't succumbed to the knife

A wife or mother not being a substantial role? That’s fighting talk, love, especially when your face is held on with a few staples and a couple of elastic bands.

But I take Demi and Hope’s point. There are plenty of meaty film roles for men in their 40s and 50s, and hardly any for terrifying cyborgs of indeterminate age or acting ability.

Of course what Demi really needs to do is latch herself on to the next Tarantino, a director who can cast ‘ironic’ leads and make them look cool even if their last role was as the father of a baby with Bruce Willis’ voice.

Back in the day, when Tarantino’s films weren’t all five day-long self-satisfied claptrap packed with mastubatory images of women stroking samurai swords, he was able to resurrect careers which had been on life-support machines for years.

In the 1990s, Tarantino could have cast Pat Sharp (disc jockey and nob jockey)  and Princess Anne (budget version of the Queen) in a film and everyone would have applauded like seals.

Sadly, these days Tarantino is rubbish, so he can’t offer any help – in fact he’s probably only another film away from being cast in someone else’s film as a stroke of post-modern irony.

But there is hope: it can’t be long before surgeons master talent implants and when they do, we can only hope that Demi’s at the head of the queue.

(I don’t know enough about Hope Davis to belittle her. Not that this would usually stop me, but it’s Earth Hour soon and I’m helping the planet by not researching her on Google. Don’t thank me, I’m just an everyday hero trying to do my bit.)


19 Responses to “Newsflash: Hollywood directors are ageist and sexist. Next they’ll be telling us the world isn’t flat.”

  1. March 28, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Would Demi accept a Shirley Valentine role if it were offered to her? I think she’s too vain to play a middle-aged woman who gets causally bonked by a Greek man who then discards her for some serious totty.

  2. March 28, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    She might be prepared to play the Greek’s teenage daughter (it’s an off-camera role), GB.

  3. March 29, 2009 at 12:24 am

    Let’s see. A few years ago the best actress Oscars including Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren and Judie Dench. See there are good roles for GOOD older actresses.

  4. March 29, 2009 at 1:04 am

    BTW…when you get time check out my recent entry…it has you to thank. (or blame)

  5. 5 Ram Venkatararam
    March 29, 2009 at 2:07 am

    I agree, female movie stars have it rough. No more $10 million dollar projects once they hit 40? Sickening! We should all be outraged. And it’s so unfair when you consider that Kevin James is over 40 and still able to make great cinema like “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.”

    Where’s the justice????

    But what is Hope Davis griping about? So her “son” would be younger than her. Aren’t actors always going on about suspending disbelief and the magic of their craft? Get crafting!

    Besides, surely if audiences are comfortable watching a movie that has 137-year old Al Pacino married to a 23-year old bride, we can accept the Johnny Depp/Hope Davis parent-child arrangement.

  6. March 29, 2009 at 6:59 am

    so are virgin’s tears the elixir of youth? because if so, we can get bucketloads from the gimcrack. there are at least 7 female patients at the gimcrack who have never married (except in their dreams to baby jesus) and are saving their hymens for Judgement Day. It’s only a matter of tweaking arthritic bones or standing on a few bunions to get tears……

  7. March 29, 2009 at 7:57 am

    The age thing in Hollywood is pathetic and juvenile. Ram’s right about Al Pacino though, he should never be playing opposite a woman with her own hips.

  8. March 29, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Poor Demi, I’ve got terrible news for her. The reason that she is not getting any good roles is two-fold and interrelated.

    One: She never had any really good roles to begin with and this is because of

    Two: She can’t act.

    When your only real claim to fame is that you’re young and amazonian looking then aging is sure to be a hindrance. She hit her peak in “Ghost” and Whoopie Goldberg stole that show anyway.

    Let’s question some other actresses on this to verify my opinion

    Meryl Streep
    Cate Blanchet
    Julianne Moore
    Nicole Kidman
    The GREAT Katherine Hepburn
    Bette Davis
    Charlize Theron
    Helena Bonham Carter
    Emma Thompson
    Shirley MacLaine
    Diane Keaton
    Helen Mirren
    Susan Sarandon
    Glenn Close
    Dame Judi Dench
    Faye Dunaway

    They never had any trouble finding good roles as they aged, Why? Simple. They were good craftspeople who were very good at what they did.

    Jane Fonda only went as far as she did because of her family name and the notoriety from being a commie sympathizer during Vietnam. Remember “Hanoi Jane?” Of course you don’t, you were too young, but the reputation preceded her.

    This is just to name a FEW. These women could act! When I saw The Queen I wondered how the hell they got Elizabeth to agree to be in a movie. When I see these women act they allow me to see the character they play and NOT the actress pretending to be someone else.

    Ever wonder why Farrah Fawcett or Bo Derek didn’t go further? Talent and skill, baby, talent and skill. How do you get to Carnegie Hall the aspiring actor asked the New York City Bum? “Practice! Practice!”

    I will give Demi credit over Bo. At least Demi could act her way out of a wet paper bag. Bo had trouble with damp tissue paper.

  9. March 29, 2009 at 10:36 am

    I love your writing so much. You’re incredibly witty, and I really appreciate every post you write. Thanks for brightening my day!

  10. March 29, 2009 at 11:14 am

    I know Demi Moore is a horrible actress, but she left me with two indelible images: the hairspray/lighter scene in St. Elmo’s Fire (her most challenging role) and her painted pregnant self on the cover of Vanity Fair. I think her lack of present-day fame has more to do with her pack-a-day voice (which should have kept her out of the business altogether). She was lucky to ride her wave of beauty as long as she did. Oh God. I just remembered GI Jane. I have to go think about something else.

  11. March 29, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    You know you’ve got a good post when you inspire me and my wife to have an intellectual debate. Hold on…we’re still arguing. 🙂

  12. March 29, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    About those virgin’s tears, Nurse Myra…I can get you a good deal. Demi is prepared to pay top dollar, and she claims to have a use for virgin’s urine, too. Don’t ask. I didn’t.

    Bearman – I am honoured to have inspired you to rework your cartoon. You’ve raised the bar. I shall expect an Anglicised version of anything American that I don’t get from now on. Like the way you lot call jewellery ‘jewelery’. You crazy sons of guns.

    Ram – I know! I may have got this totally wrong, but isn’t the whole point of acting to pretend to be someone else? I mean you can’t have it both ways – moaning that there are no roles for women over 35 and then complaining about the ones you’re offered on the grounds they involve having to pretend you’re something you’re not.
    You didn’t hear Angelina Jolie whinging when she played Colin Farrell’s mother (she was a year older than him) or Lea Thompson putting on her parts when she played Michael J Fox’s Mum in Back to the Future (they were both 24).
    It’s like Tobey Maguire claiming he couldn’t play Spiderman because in real life he hadn’t been bitten by a radioactive spider and was unable to scale buildings or spin webs (maybe he had been/could).

    Fundamentaljelly – I liked Al Pacino when he had to smell women in that film where he was blind. It evened the field for old crones like Demi.

    Gryph – Nail on the head. Start acting, Demi, and we’ll start casting.

    Mariana – There’s nothing like a Sunday afternoon ego boost. I thank you humbly (in an award-winningly witty manner, of course).

    Ana – I based my teenage years on the Tao of St Elmo’s Fire. Rob Lowe, the hairspray, the lighter, the story about salty seadogs hallucinating. Memories, man, memories.

    George – whoever is arguing that Demi Moore is a whingebag wins. Nice to see you. Please visit again soon.

  13. March 29, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Where the hell is Tannerleah?
    If someone is going to have a wildly sexy opinion about mature ladies in Tinseltown, he’s the man.

  14. March 29, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Sorry I am late…again.

    I had to Google Hope Davis. I wouldn’t do her with Ram’s thingy. Don’t get me wrong, I love the older ladies. There are several British actresses over 60 I would do with only ONE bag over their head.

    As to Demi, I wasn’t even turned on by her in Striptease. Chicks that buff remind me of guys and, except for my blue penis fetish, I am not too much into guys.

    By the way, I would do all of the ladies on gryph’s list except most of the dead ones. (And probably not Nicole Kidman because I don’t want to cross swords, even at different times, with Tom Cruise). I would even marry Helen Mirren. I love that woman.

  15. March 29, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Does that bog woman’s thighs look fat or is is just me?
    Anyway, I have three daughter’s and bet at least two of their tears are good still and I know I could get in shape spring cleaning, but…,oh never mind.

  16. March 30, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Hope Davis is right to complain! But the movie industry is run by a white patriarchal ideology and the audience they target are 15-25 year old males who cannot contemplate the idea of older women as attractive. Until that changes or women start to not go to the cinema en masse as protest. That is not gonna change anytime soon.

  17. March 30, 2009 at 11:45 am

    “Like the way you lot call jewellery ‘jewelery’. You crazy sons of guns.”

    Actually we prefer “Jewelry”

    Julianne Moore should be removed from the list. Compare Jodie Foster in the first Silence of the Lambs to JM in the second. And Freedomland was just a mess. She has been good in some roles but not as consistent as others you listed. IMO.

  18. March 30, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Ageism and sexism in Hollywood? No, I think not. That’s like saying Tom Cruise is a relgious weirdo. Hollywood is the happiest place in the world and it makes the greatest art known to mankind. Hope Davis is just kidding around — because she’s having so much fun in Hollywood — the greatest place in the world. The sun always shines, bubbly water pours from the taps and it’s been 3 days since an actor smacked down a paparazzi. Happy, happy, happy!

  19. March 30, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    TL: Surely it must be a major consolation to the women of Hollywood that if they can’t get roles, they can still get your ‘wood’. Damn, I might start not getting some roles myself if that’s the case.

    Beverly – Get back to me on the tears. We could make big bucks (although where I live, virgin’s tears are few and far between).

    Campbellx: You’re right, of course. Although we ladies over the age of 35 could sure show those whipper snappers a good time – they’re missing out. And we get increasingly desperate as we get older. It’s a win win situation.

    Bearman: You lot are loathing the vowels, aren’t you? My American spelling is diabolical. Dblcl.

    Alantru: The British film industry is much the same. Hugh Grant is always smiling.

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