Goldie Hawn’s surprising response to ageist Hollywood critics

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Kayleigh Dray
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Goldie Hawn is easily one of Hollywood’s biggest stars – and, after a 15-year break, she’s finally set to grace our screens once again alongside Amy Schumer in Snatched.

The R-rated film begins when Schumer’s character gets dumped, and begs her uptight mum (yup, that’s Hawn) to go on an “amazing adventure” to South America with her.

Unfortunately things don’t quite go to plan, and it’s not long before the pair are taken hostage and enmeshed in a dark criminal underworld.

Speaking about the film with Harper’s Bazaar, Hawn, 71, explained that she was approached by Schumer herself on an airplane – and that she had absolutely no idea who the comedian was.

Won over by Schumer’s enthusiasm, however, Hawn readily agreed to play her on-screen mother. A role which, she admits, many older actresses wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable about taking on.

But, when it comes to the ageism that’s so undeniably prevalent in Hollywood, Hawn had a surprising response.

“You think you’re going to fight the system?” she said. “You think you’re going to prove to Hollywood when you hit 45 that you’re still a sexy, viable object? No.

“There’s a certain reality. Does it make me angry? No. I’m not an angry person. I’m not a militant person. Anger doesn’t get you anywhere. It’s not productive.”

Hawn went on to reveal that she’s had to deal with plenty of criticism in the past – and was even accused of damaging the feminist cause when she agreed to play the part of a “ditzy blonde” in Sixties film Laugh-In.

“An editor from a women’s magazine came up to me and said, ‘Don’t you feel terrible that you’re playing a dumb blonde?’” she revealed. “I said, ‘I don’t understand that question because I’m already liberated.

“Liberation comes from the inside.”

Continuing the topic in a separate interview with her daughter, Kate Hudson, Hawn added: “My sense of liberation and the freedom to speak the way I want to and to feel solid in my shoes was getting stronger and stronger. That’s what helps me move through other people’s perceptions of how I should or should not be liberated. I would never listen to those rules.

“Don’t tell me I can’t do that. Watch me. Don’t tell me I can’t direct this movie. Watch me.”

Hawn is not the first woman in the spotlight to address Hollywood ageism – and we doubt she will be the last.

Earlier this week, Kim Cattrall – who famously played Samantha Jones in Sex and the City – revealed that she has decided to set aside her acting career as a result of ageist typecasting.

Speaking on the Victoria Derbyshire show, the 60-year-old explained that she has, like so many other women in the spotlight, seen her career affected by pervasive ageism in the film industry.

“I’m not ready to play someone who is grotesque, either from being thought as a very, very older woman at 60 – which I'm not and I don’t feel that way!” announced Cattrall.

“60 now is different to my mother’s 60 and I’ve had the advantage of working out and educating myself further and working on so many things that have challenged me mentally and physically. 

“They have demanded me to be much more youthful... and I'm not ready for that.”

Images: Rex Features



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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.