Polite British Actress Helen Mirren On Hollywood’s Age Discrimination: “F***ing Outrageous!”


Don’t mess with the Queen! The Queen of British cinema, that it. Of course we’re talking about Helen Mirren, who also conveniently (for the sake of our lead in joke, anyway) has portrayed not just one, but THREE British Queens in various films, all three of which earned her award nominations.

The polite British Dame (literally, she is a Dame) has some choice words for discrimination toward women in Hollywood based on age: “F***ing outrageous!”

Let’s back things up a bit. Remember that time 37 year old actress Maggie Gyllenhaal admitted in an interview that she lost out on a role playing a lover to a 55 year old male actors because she was told she was “too old”?

Well in response to that, Helen was asked about the issue of age in the industry at The Wrap’s New York Power Breakfast recently.

The 70 year old had no qualms explaining why this double standard is outrageous, either.

It’s ridiculous. And ’twas ever thus. We all watched James Bond as he got more and more geriatric, and his girlfriends got younger and younger. It’s so annoying,” she said.


It’s bizarre that the industry still thinks of any woman over the the age of 21 (basically) as too old to play a sex symbol, when at 70, she is considered one of the sexiest women in the world! Yet it is a title she takes with hesitation at times.

I don’t like the word sexual. There are people who are sexual, and who are less sexual. But there’s got to be another word. Sexual is so limiting, Being powerful is so much more interesting than being beautiful,” she said.

This is not the first time she is speaking about the gender disparity in the film industry. In August 2014 she spoke of the way on-screen female portrayals are not representative of the diversity in real life. Her solution to creating change on-screen is by pushing for change in real life, because it will influence what is shown in films.

Yet this issue about women of a certain age not being seen as viable, interesting and complex characters is pervasive and frankly annoying. It is well past its use-by date yet here we are again and again.

But there is a movement of women in the industry speaking up and taking a stand against these types of discrimination that have been allowed to fester and multiply for far too long, and it is having a great effect on the way audiences think of these issues also.


Amy Schumer’s ‘Last F**kable Day’ sketch showing a group of female actresses (Julia Louis Dreyfus, Tina Fey & Patricia Arquette) celebrating the last day they can viably be seen as a person worthy of having sex with on screen is an indication of ageism finally coming to a tipping point and it bubbling over in a way Hollywood cannot ignore.

It’s interesting that this has become a Hollywood issue, because not to0 long ago it was a problem in fashion and advertising. There has been a strong upturn toward diversity in many areas of fashion, as evidenced by Helen Mirren being named the face of L’Oreal’s new Age Perfect campaign back in October 2014.

“Every feel like you go unnoticed? Well, enough! Our perfect age is now. Are we worth it? More than ever!” she boldly declares in the video for the campaign.

So perhaps Hollywood will soon catch on, but in the meantime the voices need to get increasingly louder in order for executives to realize the change that needs to be made.

Check out the videos below where Helen tells The Wrap her thoughts on age discrimination and fear:

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Helen Mirren Says Women Today Are Beneficiaries Of What The OG Feminists Fought For - GirlTalkHQ

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