As Hollywood’s leading ladies and other prominent film and TV figures continue to sound off against the industry’s alleged misogynistic hiring practices, actress Jessica Lange feels entertainment’s gender issues go much deeper.
The actress is also not surprised by one Oscar-nominated female star’s claim she was recently snubbed from a role for her age, despite only being in her thirties.
“Hollywood is run with this male point of view. Even if a woman runs a studio, she still does it with a male point of view. And as long as that exists, you’re still going to have this wish fulfillment,” Lange said. She added, “That men continue to be fascinating and attractive and virile, and women age and are no longer sexual or beautiful — it’s a fantasy that has nothing to do with reality.”
Oscar-nominated actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, 37, told The Wrap in an interview this week producers informed her she was “too old” to play the love interest of a 55-year old male actor in an upcoming film.
Of the news, Lange reacted by saying, “Why would a 37 year old want to play opposite a 55-year-old man?”
She continued, “When I was in my thirties I wasn’t fascinated by 70-year-old men. But then, I didn’t have to be. It’s classic Hollywood. … I’m glad the media has picked up on it, but it’s certainly not a new phenomenon.”
“I think a lot of it is fear of mortality,” Lange said of the male perspective on entertainment, according to The Wrap. “One’s mortality, one’s youth and virility … now they have Viagra, they’re humping away on their deathbeds. Hollywood is a perfect expansion of that idea that permeates our society.”
Lange was first known for her role in the 1976 remake King Kong, and has more recently appeared in films including The Gambler and The Vow, and has a recurring role in FX’s American Horror Story.
On being snubbed for her age, Gyllenhaal told The Wrap she remains hopeful for both herself and for other women entertainers.
“A lot of actresses are doing incredible work right now, playing real women, complicated women,” she said. “I don’t feel despairing at all. And I’m more looking with hope for something fascinating.”
A slew of other actresses and entertainment figures have come out to condemn Hollywood’s long and institutionalized gender practices in recent months.
A week ago, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California announced it would petition the federal government to open an investigation into the “systemic failure” of major film production companies to hire female directors for film and TV projects.