Helen Mirren on Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hollywood ageism: "It's F--king Outrageous"

Helen Mirren attends The Wrap's Power Women Breakfast in New York City.

Helen Mirren attends The Wrap's Power Women Breakfast in New York City. Photo: Gary Gershoff

Helen Mirren has given a succinct appraisal of Hollywood's sexist, ageist casting habits: "It's f--king outrageous."

Speaking at The Wrap's first Power Women breakfast in New York, Mirren was asked about Maggie Gyllenhaal's recent revelation that at 37, she was "too old" to play the love interest of a 55-year-old man. "It's f--king outrageous," she repeated. "It's ridiculous. Honestly."

Nevertheless, Mirren was not surprised that it happened given Hollywood's history of pairing ageing actors as leading men alongside young women who are essentially playing the part of a trophy.

"We all sat there watching, you know... as James Bond got more and more geriatric and his girlfriends got younger and younger."

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As one of a handful of older actresses who despite the Hollywood standard has remained a sex symbol well past her 50s, Mirren (who turns 70 this year) spoke out about being characterised as 'sexual'.

"I don't like the word sexual," she said. "There are people who are sexual, and who are less sexual. But there's got to be another word. Sexual is so limiting." So how would she prefer to be portrayed? As powerful. 

"Being powerful is so much more interesting than being beautiful."

 

Source: The Wrap