5 Actresses on Being Told They’re ‘Too Old’ in Hollywood

Posted by PZ on March 22nd, 2016

In Hollywood, it’s easy to quickly become old news – these 5 actresses may have enjoyed success while young but found that they were told they’re ‘too old’ surprisingly quickly, being rejected for younger actresses even when it made more sense for the role to go to someone their age. Here is what they’ve said about experiencing that kind of ageism.

Anne Hathaway


Anne landed many roles in her twenties but believes she’s now older and so not getting as much attention as she once was: “I hate to admit it, but it’s true – there are fewer roles and the competition is just as fierce as ever. I look around at my peers and I’m so blown away by their talent and their beauty and their cool style, as well as their ability to be an actress and be a movie star and be good at it. I mean, they’re so good and we’re all trying to get the same parts.”

Emma Thompson

Emma says it’s always been a problem for slightly older actresses to land work: “The age thing is insane. It was ever thus. I remember saying years and years ago, when I was 35, that they’d have to exhume somebody to play my leading man … Nothing’s changed in that regard. If anything, it’s got worse….I remember somebody saying to me that I was too old for Hugh Grant, who’s like a year younger than me, in Sense and Sensibility. I said, ‘Do you want to go take a flying leap?’”

Jessica Lange

Jessica is glad people have started to notice the strange age differences between male and female on-screen romances: “When I was in my thirties I wasn’t fascinated by 70-year-old men. But then, I didn’t have to be. It’s classic Hollywood. I’m glad the media has picked up on it, but it’s certainly not a new phenomenon. I think a lot of it is fear of mortality. One’s mortality, one’s youth and virility … now they have Viagra, they’re humping away on their deathbeds. Hollywood is a perfect expansion of that idea that permeates our society.”

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Maggie has been shocked by casting decisions that have deemed her too old: “There are things that are really disappointing about being an actress in Hollywood that surprise me all the time. I’m 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55. It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made feel angry, and then it made me laugh.”

Olivia Wilde

Olivia was once told she is too sophisticated for a role and then later realised they meant she was too old: “The funniest thing I heard recently was, I had heard for a part that I was too sophisticated. I thought, ‘Oh, that sounds nice. I like that feedback. I didn’t get the part but I’m a very sophisticated person.’Then I found out later they actually said ‘old’.I had auditioned unsuccessfully for Wolf of Wall Street. That was the one I was too old for.”

Category: Anne Hathaway, Lists, Olivia Wilde