Meryl Streep responds to Russell Crowe’s latest controversial comments; Jessica Chastain gets in on the action as well

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When Russell Crowe opens his mouth, words come out. Sometimes, those words are not offensive. Other times, though, they are. And now is one such time! R-Crow managed to get both feet in there recently, when talking about age, Hollywood, and the limits of acting an age other than the one the actor happens to be.

During an interview with Australian Women’s Weekly–which is, as you might have guessed from its name, a women’s magazine–C-Dog had the following to say about the role age plays in determining who gets what parts:


The best thing about the industry I’m in – movies – is that there are roles for people in all different stages of life. To be honest, I think you’ll find that the woman who is saying that [the roles have dried up] is the woman who at 40, 45, 48, still wants to play the ingénue, and can’t understand why she’s not being cast as the 21 year old….Meryl Streep will give you 10,000 examples and arguments as to why that’s bullsh*t, so will Helen Mirren, or whoever it happens to be. If you are willing to live in your own skin, you can work as an actor. If you are trying to pretend that you’re still the young buck when you’re my age, it just doesn’t work.


Crowe kind of (sort of?) brought things back around to his original point, which was generally about age, and not specifically about women…but not before getting in one more shot on an anonymous actress:


I have heard of an actress, part of her fee negotiation was getting the number of children she was supposed to have lessened. Can you believe this? This [character] was a woman with four children, and there were reasons why she had to have four children – mainly, she lived in a cold climate and there was nothing to do but fornicate all day –  so quit arguing, just play the role! The point is, you do have to be prepared to accept that there are stages in life. So I can’t be the Gladiator forever.

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Indeed, Russell. You certainly can not. But Meryl Streep (who, to be fair, gets approximately 85% of all Hollywood roles meant for “older” women, and makes 100% of those roles great) disagreed with the general public backlash to Crowe’s comments, saying they’d been taken out of context, and needed to be reconsidered. The 65-year old Academy Award-winner said “It’s good to live in the place where you are,” before elaborating:


I read what he said–all of what he said. It’s been misappropriated, what he was talking about. He was talking about himself. The journalist asked him, ‘Why don’t you do another ‘Gladiator,’ you know, everybody loved that.’ He said, ‘I’m too old. I can’t be the gladiator anymore. I’m playing parts that are appropriate to my age.’ Then the conversation went on to actresses. So that was proving a point, that he was talking about himself, as most actors do. That aside, I agree with him. It’s good to live in the place where you are….You can put old age on; it’s a lot harder to take it off.


That is some damn fine acting, right there. “He was talking about himself” is code for “There are some buffoonish things in Russell’s comments, though part of what he said is true.” And Streep is right: Crowe did take a hard left turn in the conversation, steering it from a topic related to himself to himself, solely. Really what this answer does is remind everyone how immature Russell Crowe can be (remember when he threw a telephone at a hotel employee?) and how great Meryl Streep is.

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Jessica Chastain, on the other hand, had no problem flinging a little mud back in Crowe’s direction. She pointed out how rare it is for actresses Streep’s age to get many opportunities to star in film, saying “Russell keeps getting his foot stuck in his mouth…There are some incredible actresses in their 50s and 60s that are not getting opportunities in film, and for someone to say there are plenty of roles for women that age, [that] is not someone who’s going to the movie theater.”

It’s tough to argue with Chastain on that point. And it doesn’t look like R-Crow was trying to talk about the broader issue in his interview–quite the opposite, in fact. The difficulty seems to be in failing to address that issue when it’s a bit of an elephant in the room for Hollywood. How many well-known “older” actresses, other than Streep and Mirren, can you name?


(Photo credits: WENN)

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