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Helen Mirren calls out ageism in Hollywood: “It’s f–king outrageous”

We all watched James Bond as he got more at more geriatric, and his girlfriends got younger and younger.

Remember earlier this year when Russell Crowe had the nerve to say that actresses like Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren would “give you 10,000 examples and arguments as to why [complaints of ageism are] bullsh-t.”

Well, upon hearing Maggie Gyllenhaal’s recent revelation that she was told 37 was too old to play a 55-year-old man’s lover Dame Helen Mirren has shared her view on the matter.

“It’s f–king outrageous,” Mirren told TheWrap.

Yes. The dame certainly didn’t mince her words during TheWrap’s Power Breakfast in New York on Tuesday.

In a room full of more than 100 women working in entertainment, media, theatre and digital realm the Oscar-winning actress went on to make a case for the gender-based ageism shown toward women in film, using the biggest on-screen shagger of them all as an example.

“We all watched James Bond as he got more at more geriatric, and his girlfriends got younger and younger,” Mirren rightly noted before adding: “It’s so annoying.”

In May Ms Gyllenhaal, an Oscar nominee (just a friendly reminder), went public with her casting rejection, calling the decision “really disappointing”.

“There are things that are really disappointing about being an actress in Hollywood that surprise me all the time,” Maggie told The Wrap.

“I’m 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55. It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made me feel angry, and then it made me laugh.”

Mirren, who will turn 70 in July, also spoke of being a woman in Hollywood, including her thoughts on being described as “sexual.”

“There are people who are sexual, and who are less sexual. But there’s got to be another word,” Mirren said.

“Sexual is so limiting.”

Mirren decided she’d prefer another adjective saying: “Being powerful is so much more interesting than being beautiful.”

But the ugly little facet of ageism in the film industry which had been raised by female actors like Helen Mirren and Maggie Gyllenhaal is no secret – in fact, it’s something that is almost celebrated.

When male actors get older, they’re described as “rugged”, or “distinguished”, and as a reward, their love interests get younger and younger. And younger.

When Emma Stone was cast in Woody Allen’s whimsical and wacky, Magic in the Moonlight, as Colin Firth’s clairvoyant love interest, no one batted an eyelid at the fact that Firth was 53, and Stone 25 – a 28 year age gap.

Keira Knightley and Steve Carell’s 22 year gap in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World didn’t faze anyone either.

Neither did Liam Neeson and Olivia Wilde’s 32 year gap in The Third Person.

And that’s what intrigued Vulture, who did a little digging, and

discovered that the love interests cast alongside an actor usually stay the same as the actor ages.

“As leading men age, their love interests stay the same,” said Kyle Buchanan, “If our actor was sharing the screen with an A-lister of commensurate star power like Julia Roberts or Angelina Jolie, the age difference would drop somewhat, but in movies that relied solely on our guy’s big name, the lesser-known love interests would nearly always be decades younger.”

Welcome to Hollywood.

37-year-old Maggie Gyllenhaal was told she is “too old” to play the love interest of a 55-year-old man.

Olivia Wilde (29) and Steve Carrell (50) in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.

View the rest of the graphs on Vulture.

Violante Placido (34) and George Clooney (49) in The American.

View the rest of the graphs on Vulture.

Laetitia Casta (34) and Richard Gere (63) in Arbitrage.

View the rest of the graphs on Vulture.

Liam Neeson (61) and Olivia Wilde (29) in The Third Person.

View the rest of the graphs on Vulture.

Bella Heathcote (24) and Johnny Depp (49) in Dark Shadows.

View the rest of the graphs on Vulture.

Lymari Nadal (29) and Denzel Washington (52) in American Gangster.

View the rest of the graphs on Vulture.

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