Helen Mirren Says As Women Progress In Real Life, So Do Women In Hollywood


Helen Mirren is a true renaissance woman. At her age she should technically be relegated by Hollywood to only playing the boring roles for women reserved for them once actresses get past a certain age. But this fearless, talented, 69 year-old has proved she can play badass roles (‘Red’ and ‘Red 2’), historical roles (‘Queen’), comedy roles (‘Calendar Girls’) as well as the softer more romantic roles, as seen in her latest flick ‘The Hundred Foot Journey’ about an icy French chef who learns to appreciate love, friendship and food from other cultures.

In an interview with NPR radio, she says it is a really exciting time for women in the film industry both in front of the camera and behind. It’s actually kinda refreshing to hear a woman at the top of the Hollywood A-list be able to appreciate the great strides women have made, rather than just focus on the negative, which we all know sadly still exists. The gender imbalance, stereotyping and sexism runs rampant in all aspects of Hollywood but the tides are slowly changing.

Women championing the cause of change, such as Helen Mirren, are a rare breed and we love when they use any publicity opportunity to express their views as an industry insider.

NPR host Melissa Block asks her about how she has talked up the opportunities for older female actresses in Hollywood, but Helen said it wasn’t her talking about it so much as journalists constantly asking her the question, probably because she is living proof that it is possible.

“I have to say I haven’t talked a lot about that. Journalists have talked a lot about it to me. But I have not talked a lot about it. And I have always responded for the last 20 years with exactly the same response, don’t worry about roles in drama. That’s not your concern. Worry about roles for women in real life because as night follows day, roles for women in drama will follow,” she says.


What does she mean by “roles for women in real life” you may be asking?

“When you have a female president of America, which hopefully maybe you will very soon. When you have female heads of hospitals, of legal firms, of schools, of universities you will have roles for women in drama. And that has happened. That’s absolutely happened.”

We love that she sees better roles for women on screen as a reflection of what should be happening in real life, rather than the other way round. We’re all for that!

She also mentions the increased presence of women behind the scenes in Hollywood which plays a huge part in how women get cast and are portrayed on screen.

“Behind the camera, in a way, is a more important transformation. Not just directing. It’s the camera crew, it’s the cinematographers, it’s the sound people. There you’re seeing more and more women coming into the industry, which I think is really exciting.”

“When I started…the first 20 years of my experience in film, the set was a very masculine environment. It was very macho, very testosterone-y, you know very locker roomy. And it was not necessary, but you know, you have to sort of gut it out.”

A woman who has over two decades of experience on-set, she certainly is well-positioned to see the change happening. You can hear the full interview in the embed below. We love positive role models at any age, especially when they don’t see inequality as a deterrent. If her 2o+ years is anything to go by, we’d say Helen Mirren has already broken plenty of barriers and stereotypes as a successful 69 year old still in demand for a variety of female roles.


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