Just when we thought things were changing in Hollywood, we hear stories like this. About how 43-year-old actress Charlize Theron had to turn down a role in Wonder Woman — an absolute hit at the box office which acted as a poster film for female empowerment — because casting agents wanted her to play Wonder Woman’s mum.
Speaking on Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live, Theron admitted she turned down the role on the Patty Jenkins-directed film because, well, she’s not old enough to be Wonder Woman’s mum.
“This is a great of example of how Hollywood slaps you in the face when you start ageing,” Theron said. “So somebody had said to me, ‘Oh, there’s action on this thing, Wonder Woman — we just want to make you aware of it.’ And I was like, ‘I’m just not familiar with it… I mean, what does Wonder Woman do?”
Gal Gadot, who played the part of Wonder Woman, is currently 34 years old — a mere nine years younger than Theron. And while we’re all about artistic liberty, casting a woman less than a decade older to play her mother seems like a bit of a stretch.
Despite advances for women in Hollywood over the past two years, casting older women hasn’t changed much. In 2017, American Horror Story actress Jessica Lange discussed the double standard, telling AARP it isn’t a “level” game to play.
“Ageism is pervasive in this industry. It’s not a level playing field. You don’t often see women in their 60s playing romantic leads, yet you will see men in their 60s playing romantic leads with co-stars who are decades younger.”
Jane Fonda echoes Lange’s comments, admitting it’s harder for women because it’s all about appearances. “It is okay for men to get older, because men become more desirable by being powerful. With women, it’s all about how we look. Men are very visual, they want young women. So, for us, it’s all about trying to stay young.”
So, while Charlize might be completely apt at playing whoever — no matter the age — don’t go asking her to be your mum, ok.