Russell Crowe, 50, stars in the upcoming The Water Diviner as a father of three grown sons—and he says actresses his age should be playing similar roles at this point in their lives.
“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,” Crowe told Australian Women’s Weekly in a December interview.
Crowe went on to cite two actresses in their sixties as examples of older women finding work in film. “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,” he said. “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.”
What Crowe doesn’t address, of course, is that that’s often not the actresses at fault, but Hollywood: The numbers indicate that it’s hard enough to find meaty or high-profile roles as a woman of any age, but especially as a woman who isn’t the equivalent age of, as Crowe put it, a “young buck.” Of the 10 highest grossing films of 2014, for instance, only three star women in leading roles—The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1, Maleficent, and X-Men: Days of Future Past—and none of those women are over 40. Meanwhile, four of those top 10 films have men over 40 in headlining roles.
But Crowe said actresses should just follow in Streep’s—and his own—footsteps. “The point is, you do have to be prepared to accept that there are stages in life,” he said. “So I can’t be the Gladiator forever.”
For more of Crowe’s thoughts on Hollywood, read the full interview at Australian Women’s Weekly.