Helen Mirren Says Hollywood Is ‘F—ing Outrageous’ About Ageism

Helen Mirren never holds back her opinion. There was no exception when she sat down with the Wrap at the New York Power Breakfast on June 16. The conversation turned to ageism in Hollywood, particularly how actresses are treated once they hit a certain age.

To bring up an example, the Wrap editor Sharon Waxman mentioned a comment from Maggie Gyllenhaal, where she was told she was “too old” at 37-years-old to play a 55-year-old man’s love interest. Mirren hasn’t had her career stall due to her age, and sounded off on the ridiculous nature of age in the entertainment industry.

“Yes, I’m sure that’s true. I’m sure that’s true. It’s f—ing outrageous. F—ing outrageous! It’s ridiculous, honestly. It’s so annoying.”

This isn’t the first time Helen Mirren has sounded off about aging. Back in 2014, she told Woman’s Weekly about aging gracefully.

“You have to grow up, grow old, unlearn and throw certain things away. The weird thing is you get more comfortable in yourself, even as time is giving you less reason for it. When you’re young and beautiful, you’re paranoid and miserable. And then you’re older and it’s ironic really.”

Mirren is one of the rare actresses who has sustained major success and has worked steadily for the past 30 years, despite the industry being unforgiving to actresses that age. In fact, she won her first Academy Award in 2007 for her role as the Queen in the drama of the same title.

The actress isn’t the only one to talk about aging in Hollywood. While promoting Into the Woods, Meryl Streep had a lot to say about youth.

“Our culture is pretty youth-obsessed, especially people that pass 40. I was not offered any female adventurers, or love interests, or heroes or demons. I was offered witches because I was ‘old’ at 40.”

She continued, “I just have had a political sort of reaction against the concept of old women being demonized and age being this horrifying, scary thing. I just didn’t like that. I didn’t like it when I was a little girl. I don’t like it now.”

So at 65-years-old, she agreed to play the witch character in Into the Woods. At the time, the role fit as she listened to the Sondheim lyric that “witches can be right.”

[Photo by Jemal Countess / Getty Images]