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The movie stars grow old but their women don’t

Posted 2019/08/0310150

The movie stars grow old but their women don’t

Some of the most mythical films in the cinema have couples that are more than 10 years old, always in favor of men. Age remains a determining factor in Hollywood

It is well known that actresses over 40 have trouble finding papers, a stumbling block that their male colleagues do not find. None of Hollywood’s highest paid actors are under 40; Only one of the highest paid performers surpasses them, Jessica Chastain. “Youth reigns,” said Junie Hoang when he sued the Imdb film database for publishing his age on his profile on the social network of cinema. Although he lost his mind, many colleagues have seconded that message to criticize the drought of roles they suffer when they are no longer adequate to play “the girl” in the film. 10 years ago, a 67-year-old Faye Dunaway shouted in the sky to perceive the unfair treatment he received in comparison to the men of his generation. “I’m pissed that they think I’m too old to be the love interest of guys like Jack Nicholson or Clint Eastwood. Why do I have to play sisters and mothers while they, who are older than me, have on-screen lovers who double their age? ”.

The leading couple of The Bridges of Madison (1995), Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, has been 19 years old. Despite this, his chemistry was one of the strong points for criticism when it came to assessing the great success of the film, to the point that it was rumored that they maintained a relationship in real life. In 1997 Jack Nicholson (60 years) and Helen Hunt (33) surprised the world for the same reason, their chemistry by portraying a relationship as dysfunctional as Best … impossible , since they separated them no less than 27 years old .

Elizabeth Banks complained in 2016 of being rejected for the role of Mary Jane in Spiderman  because, at 29, she was considered too old to be Tobey Maguire’s girlfriend (and high school classmate), 16 months younger than her. The same happened to Olivia Wilde, who was ruled out for The Wolf of Wall Streetfor being too old to be the wife or lover of Leonardo DiCaprio. She was 29 years old … and he 38, nine years older than her. They were also victims of that discrimination Maggie Gyllenhaal, considered  too old with 37 years to play the lover of a 55-year-old man , and  Jamie Denbo, who complained on Twitter that she had been rejected for a role because, at 43, the producers considered that she could not embody the wife of a 57-year-old man.

The actors who played the legendary couple of Rhett Butler and Scarlet O’Hara in What the Wind Wore (1939), Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, took 13 years. The film offers another example of aging: the protagonist’s parents, played by Thomas Mitchell and Barbara O’Neil, had been 18 years old. Almost three decades later, an example of advances in social rights, it was released Guess who is coming tonight (1967), which showed one of the first interracial couples in cinema. But age discrimination even reaches this one: there is an 18-year difference between Sidney Poitier and Katharine Houghton, the lovers who try to break down prejudices in the film, without this having anything to do with the plot.

Increasingly older actors are paired in fiction with actresses decades younger than them. The protagonists of the cinema have much younger women without the difference in age being mentioned even in the film, as if it were normal for a woman in her fifties to have the appearance of a woman in her twenties who could actually be her daughter. It is something that happens since the cinema exists.

Two of the most memorable couples in film history, which also belong to radically distanced times, offer examples of ageism in the leading couple. Humphrey Bogart was 41 years old when he starred in Casablanca (1942) with a 21-year-old Ingrid Bergman. Almost half a year later, he arrived at the Pretty Woman (1990), the love story between a rich businessman and a prostitute who have seen six of ten Spaniards . A kind of modern Cinderella in which its protagonists, Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, were 18 years old.

It even happens in movies that establish that they are both the same age because they are friends from childhood or go to class together, as in Pirates of the Caribbean : although Orlando Bloom is only eight years older than Keira Knightley, the film emphasizes that they are friends of childhood (with prologue of the time included) and the fact that they are the same age is key to the plot. It also happens to actresses who play mothers of actors just younger than them, as happened in Alejandro (2004) to Angelina Jolie and Colin Farrell , who have been a year.

Mel Gibson was 11 years older than Sophie Marceau, the princess who seduces in Braveheart (1995), and 16 more than Catherine McCormack, who played her supposed childhood friend. In the prologue of the film, they clearly state that there is an age difference … of a maximum of five years.

These Hollywood romances have nothing to do with real life, in which couples usually take between one and three years on average . But we are so used to seeing them that many are surprising. For example, Emma Stone has never been a couple of a man her age or younger before the camera; neither does Scarlett Johansson. Jennifer Lawrence has only had two lovers of her generation before the cameras.

Even when women are hundreds, even thousands of years older than their man in fiction, the chosen actress is half years old: Milla Jovovich was The fifth element in the 1997 homonymous film, literally a being that precedes everything. But he is 21 years younger than Bruce Willis, the human he fell in love with on tape. A few years later we attended another film age: Aragorn and Arwen in The Lord of the Rings (2001) are a human and an elf hundreds of years older than him, but actress Liv Tyler is 18 years younger than Viggo Mortensen. Elves stay beautiful and young longer, but they are played by actors such as Hugo Weaving (one year younger than Mortensen) and Cate Blanchett (10 years younger).

As happens to them, in the couples that come next, of the most memorable in the history of cinema, there was a difference of more than 10 years that went unnoticed. And there are many to mention, several of them mythical in the history of cinema, such as the protagonists of Singing in the Rain (1952), which took 20 years, the same that separated Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint (35) in Con the death in the heels (1959); one more, 21, was between Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison in My fair lady (1964), the same gap that existed between Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie in The Bone Collector (1999).

The pairing of Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson in Avengers: the era of Ultron (2015) did not unleash comments, although they have been 17 years. Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, who have shared romance on screen twice, have been 16 years, despite being one of the most fashionable fiction couples in recent years. They have been together both in the comedy The Good Side of Things (2012) and in the historical film Serena (2014). Another of the most notorious recent examples of Hollywood ageism is in Moonlight Magic(2014), a Woody Allen film in which a skeptic Colin Firth (53) falls in love with the ‘medium’ Emma Stone (25). The huge difference in age between the two, 28 years, has no relevance in the plot.

The difference is even greater between Harrison Ford (55 years old) and Anne Heche (29) on Six days and seven nights (1998); and between Michael Douglas (54) and Gwyneth Paltrow (26) in A Perfect Crime (1998). There are examples as recent as Birdman (2015), in which  Michael Keaton is 17 years older than Amy Ryan, his wife in the film,  and 30 years older than his lover, Andrea Riseborough. Not even superheroes escape it: the titular couple of  Ant-Man and the Wasp(2018), Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, has been 11 years old.

Carrie Fisher was 14 years younger than Harrison Ford when they played Princess Leia and Han Solo in Star Wars (1977). Interestingly, the first actress who was thought for the role, Sissy Spacek, takes half of years with Ford, who in real life takes 22 with his third wife, Calista Flockhart.

The leading couple of Jurassic Park (1993), Sam Neill and Laura Dern, have been 19 years old. It is a faithful detail to the characters in the book, in which she is a graduate student; However, in the film they are colleagues by profession and their interaction seems to be that of two equals.

Brad Pitt takes 12 and 13 years respectively with his wives in fiction in The Tree of Life (2011) and World War Z (2013) , Jessica Chastain and Mireille Enos. In both cases, not a single reference is made to this marked difference in age.