Charlize Theron has been busy promoting her new film Long Shot. Along the way, the actor hasn’t had time for any sexist comments or unacceptable behaviour. During an interview in France, she called out a male TV host for kissing her interpreter live on air without asking for her consent.
Now, Theron has made her thoughts on ageism in Hollywood very clear, after discussing why she turned down a role in the hit film Wonder Woman.
During an interview with Andy Cohen on America’s Watch What Happens Next, a viewer phoned in to ask if the rumours were true that Theron turned down the role of Wonder Woman. “I did not turn the role of Wonder Woman down,” she clarified, before continuing to explain things.
“This is a great example of how Hollywood slaps you in the face when you start aging,” Theron started. “So somebody said to me, ‘There’s action on this thing Wonder Woman, we just want to make you aware of it’. But I said, ‘I’m not really aware of it, what does Women Woman really do?’”
Half laughing in despair, she then said that they were actually talking about the role of Wonder Woman’s mum. Referring to crossing the line of being asked to play older roles in Hollywood, she concluded: “It was the defining moment where I crossed over, and I wasn’t fully aware of it.”
Conversely, Theron spoke about ageism in Hollywood a couple of years ago, telling Vanity Fair Italy that claims the industry unfairly casts younger women is a “cliche.” This new personal experience has clearly changed the actor’s perception of things.
If Theron had been cast to play Queen Hippolyta, she would have been just nine years older than Gal Gadot, who played her daughter Wonder Woman. In the end, the casting team finally came to their senses and celebrated female actors over 50 by casting Connie Nielsen – who is 19 years older than Gadot - in the role of Hippolyta.
Although this story is perhaps unsurprising to many, it’s disheartening to see that Hollywood still has a problem with women and age in the #MeToo era, which continues to highlight the issues females face in the industry.
What’s also concerning is the reaction Theron’s comments have received.
Jeannie Mai, a host on America’s The Real, discussed the interview, saying; “I think women are way too sensitive about age and getting older.” Her co-host Adrienne Houghton agreed, adding: “I don’t think someone’s trying to insult you if they’re asking you to play older. Older doesn’t mean worse.”
They seem to miss the point, but fellow panellist Loni Love saw sense, explaining: “The problem is there are 50-year-old and 60-year-old actresses who can’t get the job. So it’s a casting issue.”
Twitter users were also split over Theron’s decision to turn down the role, with one writing: “So why not have an actress that’s actually old enough to be her mother? They can act too, you know.”
Another replied to this question, writing: “She’s a great actress. They offered her the job because she’s a great actress. The Wonder Woman character is portrayed as a 20-something character played by a 34-year-old; not that it matters, but Charlize Theron is indeed old enough to be the mother of a 20-something.”
Ultimately, it proves that ageism is something that still needs to be openly discussed.