Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone were just two of the actresses named in a recent analysis of screen romances by Yahoo! Style, and it appears their influence for older actresses is unrealistic and more than a little destructive. (Scarlett Johansson was also named.)
So, just what are these lovely ladies doing to ruin the careers of middle age actresses? Well, they’re stepping into roles where they play the lead love interests of men who are much, much older.
Jennifer Lawrence, for example, has starred opposite Bradley Cooper in Serena and Silver Linings Playbook. In their latest pairing, she was just 24-years-old, while Cooper clocked in at the big 4-0. Cooper was also 14 years Emma Stone’s senior when he was paired off with her in the flop Aloha.
In Stone’s last 11 appearances, her leading men were generally much older than her with the one exception being Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man series of films (five-year age difference).
Her creepiest outing by far was as the love interest of then-54-year-old Sean Penn in the film Gangster Squad.
Jennifer Lawrence has faired a little better than Stone, but not by much. In her last nine films, she was the older woman only once (The Hunger Games). In The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, she was the same age as then-23-year-old Liam Hemsworth.
Perhaps worse than Emma and J-Law, there is Scarlett Johansson, who has been with older men in all of her last 14 films, and the margins are much more spread out.
In The Man Who Wasn’t There, she was 30 years the junior of Billy Bob Thornton; Lost in Translation, 34 years the junior of Bill Murray; and Chef, 18 years the junior of Jon Favreau.
While the gist of the study isn’t that Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, and Scarlett Johansson should have no right to these parts, it does indicate that their being chosen for films like these throw away opportunities for more age-appropriate and equally talented actresses.
Hollywood has long been derided for favoring youth over talent when it comes to women, while men are able to hang in there for a longer amount of time. The Yahoo! Style study seems to prove it.
But what role do the women themselves play in this? Are they as big of a bane to the outlook for older actresses as chauvinistic casting directors and movie studio heads?
What do you think could be done to find more roles for talented older actresses? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image via Silver Linings Playbook screen grab]