Academy Award-winning actress Rachel Weisz is tackling Hollywood ageism with a bit of unconventional, old school feminine attitude: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
In an industry where older actresses are treated as expendable in comparison to their male counterparts, Weisz, now 45, is taking no chances with her career, and has been buying the rights to novels to develop screenplays for roles she wants to play.
“So far it’s just been books where I can see parts for me to act in,” said Weisz, who admittedly wants to keep acting. “It’s been interesting. I’ve done enough films that I have a sense of what I want to do. I’ve read enough scripts. I can’t write, but I can develop.
“Known for her roles in Constantine, The Mummy, and The Constant Gardener, in which she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2006, there is no doubt much of Weisz’s career success can be attributed to her strong work ethic and ability to seize every opportunity possible, even when they may not exist.
Call it a more conservative approach to success.
“In your teens you think nothing is impossible. Then in your twenties you realize everything isn’t possible,” the actress told Independent. “I think in your thirties you get more confident about who you are and I find that a relief.”
She added: “I know I’m doing more than when I started. Does it get easier? Do you really know what you are doing? It’s all about roaming around and trying. It’s not very scientific.”
Although Weisz is aware of the gender inequality issues that plague liberal Hollywood, she says she is not one to dwell on the past.
“I’m not good at reflecting back. Starting out I did every job I was offered just to pay rent, but now I have the luxury that I can choose which is a good position to be in,” Weisz explained.
The actress is pushing ahead, and has a recipe for success, using good Ol’ fashioned hard work and persistence, and won’t be bothered by the complaints of her peers, who often complain of the industry’s treatment of aging starlets.
Other actresses in Hollywood have not latched on to those independent ideals, nor do they seem to be as active when it comes to managing their own careers.
Leftovers star Liv Tyler, 38, claimed last month that older actresses are treated as “sort of a second class citizen,” saying interesting roles for older women simply do not exist.
Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway, 32, also blamed her loss of roles on ageism, saying “When I was in my early 20s, parts would be written for women in their 50s and I would get them. And now I’m in my early 30s, and I’m like, ‘Why did that 24-year-old get that part?'”
She added: “All I can do right now is think that thankfully you have built up perhaps a little bit of cachet and can tell stories that interest you, and if people go to see them, you’ll be allowed to make more.”
Perhaps the other actresses could take a page out of the Weisz book of success. The beauty is proving one doesn’t have to be a willing participant in their own victimization.