Kristen Scott Thomas: aging actresses are ‘invisible & that’s never going to change’

Kristen Scott Thomas

A few years ago, Vulture wrote a really telling piece, “Leading Men Age, but Their Love Interests Don’t.” Such age discrepancies are something Hollywood likes to brush under the table. Vulture illustrated their piece with graphical charts that made the truth undeniable. The effect was both hilarious and sad.

Aging isn’t fair between the sexes no matter the context, but we see it happen in Hollywood before our very eyes. Actresses tend to peak early on in their career while male actors can pretend to be action stars well into their 60s. Kristen Scott Thomas has talked before about how men grow in gravitas and women disappear. She spoke in a larger context but also namechecked the few actresses over 40 who capture all the roles. Russell Crowe recently described the aging actress dilemma as a myth, and Meryl Streep backed him up while “literally waving off his remarks.” Well, the ethereal Kristen Scott Thomas (age 54) is here to say that Hollywood ageism is still disastrous, but she knows things will never change.

Kristin Scott Thomas told Sophie Raworth that ageism in Hollywood was a “disaster”, and that female actors are still losing out on roles to younger ones. “I won’t bore you with all the stories of older women not getting jobs in film because it’s so boring. But it’s true – it’s a disaster,” she said on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

When Raworth asked the 54-year-old actor why she thought it was boring, Scott Thomas replied: “Because it’s never going to change. Until the average life-span is 150 years or something, I don’t think women in their 50s are going to be considered at all viable. I think that’s what it is,” she said. “Sorry.”

Scott Thomas has spoken about watching herself age on screen in the past. In 2013, she said: “When you’re my age, you’re invariably in a supporting role, so there’s often a young woman in her twenties or early thirties who is the lead, and you’re constantly put next to them. You’re watching yourself get old, on a screen that hides nothing.”

She added that she would consider a face-lift, and said that women of her age became “invisible” to society.

[From Independent]

She’s correct — things will never change. The plain truth is that audiences readily accept an aging male as a “silver fox,” but women over 45-ish are relegated to “well, she looks good … for her age.” That’s a dreadful statement to make about a woman, and I bristle whenever I hear it. At the same time, I’m guilty of lusting for the silver foxes. Just take Michael Keaton as an example. He’s hitting a new stride in his 60s, and he’s hotter than he ever was at age 30. That’s exciting to watch, but would we ever see a film about an aging former female superhero? Not a chance.

Kristen Scott Thomas

Kristen Scott Thomas

Photos courtesy of WENN

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92 Responses to “Kristen Scott Thomas: aging actresses are ‘invisible & that’s never going to change’”

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  1. Kiddo says:

    Never say never. You promote change where you spend your money and where you don’t.

    • bettyrose says:

      Exactly. Which is why Marigold Hotel has a sequel with a mainstream release. When older women/women in general are recognized for our spending power, Hollywood will fall in line.

      • Ethelreda says:

        And in the ”hot couple” in that film, Bill Nighy was – shock horror!! – 15 years YOUNGER than Judi Dench! And it wasn’t even considered worthy of mention, just as it never is when Hollywood pairs hot young women with decades older men, the latest being 24 year old Margot Robbie with 45 year old Will Smith.

        Well, I suppose it’s a start!

      • Kiddo says:

        I just like diversity in stories and characters. I can’t think offhand of one to name, but some poignant stories of the elderly (not talking middle-aged) have really been touching. It’s nice to find people of all sizes, ages, looks, races, genders, etc. in roles where they are relatable to all of humanity on some level. The older man/hot young chick in Hollywood is such an overplayed cliche of fantasy, it’s boring. But then again, Hollywood is so formulaic, in general.

      • manta says:

        But isn’t the Marigold Hotel a predominantly UK film, rather than a fully Hollywood funded one?
        Brits (as far as I can tell) seem to always have a room for actors of all ages.
        I’m French and used to seeing Charlotte Rampling and Kristin Scott Thomas regularly cast by french directors. Some of our most in demand actresses (Deneuve, Devos, Viard,Carré, Huppert…) are 50 and +.

        So, I’m not as optimistic as you about Hollywood falling in line. Tinseltown will let other cinemas display age diversity, sometimes making an effort to show their productions but won’t change anything on its side (not for a long time anyway).

      • Sixer says:

        Well, US TV at least had Olive Kitteridge, which I LOVED.

        We do seem to have more/better storytelling about the middle and old aged this side of the Pond, however. Heck, we even have a sitcom about two ageing – ancient?! – gay guys.

      • bettyrose says:

        Mantra, yes but it’s getting wide distribution in the U.S. and ads on commercial tv. There’s Hollywood money backing that effort. In any case it’s a very small step but better than no progress at all.

    • Snazzy says:

      Exactly. As frustrating as it can be, we have to be part of the solution and make change happen

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree – things may never be perfect, but they can change for the better. Especially as more and more women write, produce, and direct their own projects, they aren’t going to be content only telling the stories of 25 year olds, or casting a male lead twice the lead actress’ age when it’s not called for by the story.
      I think the audience is already there and willing – look at the success Viola Davis’ show had this year.

      • Anna says:

        Exactly! Part of what aggravates me about women complaining about Hollywood is the “I’m not pretty anymore” hand wringing from actresses. (More) women moving into producing and directing would really go miles towards improving this “problem” of ageism in Hollywood. Men will direct, produce and market a movie even if all they have is a best friend and a home camcorder, so it really boggles me that more women don’t do the same and are then confused that they don’t have a presence in Hollywood.

    • Mumzy says:

      Absolutely correct!!

    • Anne tommy says:

      Being shallow here but wish I could age like Kristen. So classy. And she’s done some great work in french films over the last few years. People in french films are allowed to look more like real people, as opposed to the peeled, waxed, plucked, stretched, taut ab-ed, perfect teeth clones that seem to be required In hollywood.

  2. ToodySezHey says:

    I don’t see the problem, she looks great to me.

    And she is right. We live in a male dominated patriarchal society. As such , men put a premium on youth for women so as long as men run Hollywood and largely make movies for male audiences…..

    That said, I do think there will always be a place for talented women of any age. That’s why Helen Mirren and Maggie smith and Meryl work forever. Kate Winslet may go that way too as well as Julianna Moore.

    • NGBoston says:

      Agreed. Well put.

    • misstee says:

      The problem is there never seems to be more than 2/3 women ALLOWED to be in that rarefied air of constant selection at any one time – each generation will allow a few women to make it, yet MANY more men get to stay at the top of the pile, or restart careers as action leads like Liam Neeson.

      And tbh if the British film Industry didn’t exist where Costume Dramas and Biopics rule the roost you can bet Judi Dench wouldn’t have much work eiher cause she sisnt employed much in Hollywood.

      And Meryl Streep can toss off – to be in that utterly unique position at her age and too nay say the realities for every other women? take a goddam seat.

    • Addison says:

      She looks great indeed! I am younger than her (about 10 years) and I don’t think I look as good as she. That said, I’m happy with myself. :)

    • irm says:

      And cate blanchett, tilda swinton and possibly a few others….

  3. Ethelreda says:

    It’s not that I disagree with her, but there’s something almost defeatist and self pitying about her comments. Maybe she moves in very superficial circles, but where I am, women in their 5Os are not ‘invisible’ at all. Sure, they’re not considered as ‘hot’ as when they were younger, but that’s the same for the vast majority of men in their 5Os too – the ‘silver fox’ thing really doesn’t apply to your average 5O something man.

    And going by the comments section on an interview with Kristen I read in The Guardian a few weeks ago, she herself is anything but inivisible to men!

    • perplexed says:

      There was another interview awhile back where she talked about feeling invisible now that she’s older. I came away wondering what life must be like for a really beautiful person, because she discussed the kind of attention she got when she was younger compared to now and I couldn’t really relate to what she was talking about. I suppose I start to feel a little strange whenever an actress talks about their youth because I’m wondering why I never had that much attention when I was 18! And then I start to worry that if a beautiful 54 year old feels like this, I’m probably going to be in the mother of all mid-life crises when I hit 54!

      • Ethelreda says:

        Yeah, I think a lot of the complaining about being ‘invisible’ comes from women who were valued only or mostly for their looks. Obviously, as those looks fade and hotter, younger pieces come along, it can hurt. But for most of us, who were never show stoppers even at 22, that’s less of an issue.

        With Kristen, though she was and is very beautiful, she’s always been a respected actress, and so has a lot more to offer than just a hot body. So I find her comments just a tad whiny.

      • Maria says:

        i read something about it not long ago, a woman talking about how basically generation after generation of men stopped paying attention to her.

        then again as Ethelreda says its women who were bathed in attention because of their looks. she shouldnt be said but happy that it worked so long.

        the problem isnt so much ageism its more about that looks matter more than talent. do i want to see Megan Fox with 80? No. do i want to see Kate Winselt with 80? Yes.

        there are also a lot of male examples of that. look at Zac Efron, its not like he suddenly turned ugly or aged badly but he is not the focus point for most young girls anymore and that hit hard for him.
        of course it must be hard to be the king by simply walking into a room and then it stops but come on realize that it was also unfair to people who dont look good.

        And most men are not silverfoxes, not even the ones who were handsome when they were young. others only get good looking with age. i for example think Clooney didnt look good when young.

        with looks a lot of privilieges come but then to sit around and be bitter because they are gone is pissing me off. they dont realize how lucky they were.

      • Nancy says:

        I never believed in ageism until I began I see it – I’m 53, and I see it in my field, education. We older teachers aren’t respected for 30 years of experience and 50 years of knowledge. Ability to be a technology whiz, and I’m not a Luddite at all, is what’s respected. It’s sad, because many younger teachers don’t want to learn the things we thirsted to find out about, so many kids will never know about the consummation habits and rules of medieval royalty or how to engage in a Socratic dialogue. But they’ll know how to sit in a classroom staring at a screen for even more hours a day, the 21st Century Classroom model.

        I also see it when I apply for part time work – I went to a Starbucks to find out their application process and asked a girl there, “is there anyone older here?” She said, “Oh, yes! Our manager is old – he’s in his 30s!”

    • Cate says:

      Totally agree about men not automatically being silver foxes. Look at someone like Depp, he didn’t exactly get hotter with age. Some men do age well, some get more handsome. But some pretty ones really don’t. Let alone in RL. I sometimes see men my age and I’m like ‘???’, you should still look a little bit boyish, but you really don’t… Now I’m not a silver fox lover anyway, but still. Aging is more accepted in men because of the patriarchal society we live in. Not because older men are automatically so much hotter than older women. Quite the opposite really. I think in all ages there are always a lot more prettier/handsome/interesting/well groomed women than there are men. Just look at some dating sites…

    • Nancy says:

      I never believed in ageism until I began I see it – I’m 53, and I see it in my field, education. We older teachers aren’t respected for 30 years of experience and 50 years of knowledge. Ability to be a technology whiz, and I’m not a Luddite at all, is what’s respected. It’s sad, because many younger teachers don’t want to learn the things we thirsted to find out about, so many kids will never know about the consummation habits and rules of medieval royalty or how to engage in a Socratic dialogue. But they’ll know how to sit in a classroom staring at a screen for even more hours a day, the 21st Century Classroom model.

      I also see it when I apply for part time work – I went to a Starbucks to find out their application process and asked a girl there, “is there anyone older here?” She said, “Oh, yes! Our manager is old – he’s in his 30s!”

  4. Xtina says:

    That movie sounds like a blast, Bedhead! Make it happen ^_^

    Also, I know you guys turn your nose up at couples like Aaron and Sam T-J, but you gotta hand it to them for showing that an aging woman is sexy, smart, desirable — all the things men get, too… It wouldn’t hurt to see more couples like that.

    • ell says:

      no. she got with him when he was still a boy, so yes it would be great to see more older women/younger men pair, but let’s make sure the younger person is an actual adult at least of age.

      • c'est la vie says:

        He was of age! People need to start getting that straight. I’m not sure where the “he was underage/only a boy” comments come from, but he truly was of age.

  5. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    It has a long way to go, but I think it has changed a little bit in my lifetime. Not enough, but a little. Personally, I don’t care if society thinks I’m “viable” or not. I do. And I don’t feel invisible. Thirty year old men aren’t giving me second glances anymore, but I’m giving those 80 year olds whiplash. Lol whatever.

  6. Mel M says:

    Ethereal is the perfect word to describe her, gorgeous.

    • Esmom says:

      Yes. And I really hope she doesn’t get a facelift. It wouldn’t magically get her parts or solve the issues she’s talking about anyway.

  7. ToodySezHey says:

    Well when you operate in a culture like Hollywood that’s always looking for thr next hot young thing I can see why she would feel invisible.

    And let’s be honest. ..maybe I’m being shallow , but an average or below average looking woman probably is considered invisible in society. This won’t happen as much to Halle Berry or Salma Hayek but..you know what I mean.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I totally agree, but I would argue that in “real life” (not Hollywood) an average looking 55 year old man is pretty invisible too. By invisible, I mean strangers whipping their heads around to stare.

      ETA I think I might have misunderstood what you were saying. Sorry. I agree that an average or below looking woman of any age is sort of invisible in our society.

      • Ethelreda says:

        I would go further and say that most people, of any age or gender, are ‘invisible’. Your average 22 year old woman doesn’t attract any particular attention either.

        And yes, in the real world ageing affects men too. Maybe not quite as much as with women, but 5O something men have to deal with the loss of their youthful vigour and looks too, and, more importantly, find themselves getting passed over for jobs in favour of young whipper snappers half their age.

      • perplexed says:

        I always figured the people who get the most attention are famous people. And in the context of real life, I’ve noticed people respond well to outgoing, personable people.

        In real life I don’t really see even the pretty 22 year olds getting random people telling them how pretty they are in the supermarket or at the gas station. I assume this happens to them at bars or at clubs where you’re actually participating in the context of a mating ritual, and I can see how being good-looking would help you with landing a job perhaps, but when one is just walking down the street or on the bus everyone seems to be looking at their smartphone. The place where I see people getting the most compliments on their looks is at a party or ….on Facebook.

        Is the amount of attention regarding looks one gets region-specific? I mean, I can believe it happens a lot to some people — it’s just that sometimes you’ll see a stunningly pretty person on an elevator but I don’t see anyone on the elevator freaking out that a stunning person is in their presence (even though I myself might be wondering what it must be to look like that). Again, all I see people doing is looking tired, bored, or at their smartphones.

      • Ethelreda says:

        @perplexed

        I agree. I think the amount of ‘attention’ pretty young women get is overstated, and not worth much anyway. I’ve seen really beautiful women walk down the street without stopping traffic. I’m sure they’d get chatted up more in nightclubs and that sort of thing, but that’s a very specific kind of attention, and not neccessarily a welcome one.

        When I was a young woman, though I do say so myself, I was very attractive, and I like to think that at 45, I’m still not bad! Even so, I don’t recall being the centre of attention everywhere I went, nor do I remember doors being opened for me- in any sense of the word – just because I was young and pretty. I had to get on with life like everyone else.

  8. MP says:

    We need female writers, producers and studio executives. We need people to write stories with good parts for older women (other than the mum of the lead character) and then the people with money to make those films happen.
    Men are not going to do it. They don’t see any issue or problem here. We need women in positions of power and some sisterhood.

    How many of the last let’s say 10 last films you’ve seen had a white male lead? How many of those movies would have worked just as well with the lead character being a woman or a man of different race?
    Most of the times there is no real reason to only have (white) male leads but I don’t think other options are ever even considered.

    And frankly I think KST looks hot, not young but hot. The myth of men getting hotter with age is a bit silly and probably was invented by men. Yes older men can be hot (like older women can) but seriously if you put a fit 25-year old man next to a fit 60-year old man on screen I’m sure the older man would feel just like KST does.

    • Ethelreda says:

      ”The myth of men getting hotter with age is a bit silly and probably was invented by men.”

      Oh, no ‘probably’ about it! Sure, there are plenty of hot men over 5O – Viggo Mortensen, Mark Strong, Keanu Reeves – but there are plenty of hot older women too. Maybe more so, as women tend to take better care of themselves and, unlike many men, aren’t at all complacent about the effect age has on their looks.

      In the real, non Hollywood world, people can find men AND women attractive at any age. But in terms of sheer ‘phwoah!’ hotness, youth will usually have the edge, despite the male fantasy of ‘ageing like a fine wine’.

    • Beth says:

      If we want to use the whole “biology” argument, a few studies have mentioned that men are most sexually attractive to women when they are virile (re: young). What causes the whole “men age better” stereotype is that men are allowed to trade off youth and virility for wealth, character growth, and overall experience. It is not really a matter of a man looking better with age, as much as society appreciates him and his accomplishments as he grows older.

      And therein lies another problem for women: they are not appreciated for their character, even in youth.

      • Ethelreda says:

        ”What causes the whole “men age better” stereotype is that men are allowed to trade off youth and virility for wealth, character growth, and overall experience.”

        Maybe so, but again, let’s get back to the real world. Your average 5O year old isn’t wealthy, and is probably constantly looking over his shoulder in case he loses his job to an energetic youngster. Nor is he likely to have much by way of accomplishments. Most people lead fairly banal lives.

        Very few young women are attracted to much older men, unless they’re Hugh Jackman. So while I agree with you that the ‘men age better’ stereotype is based on the notion that, unlike women, men have so much more to offer than just their youthful good looks, in reality, ageing is tough for men too.

      • Amy Tennant says:

        I’ve often wondered if biology plays a role here in the fact that a man can sire children later in life than a woman can bear children, and that is why we tend to see men as attractive for longer.

        But regardless, we’re better than biology.

      • Ethelreda says:

        I think the ‘biology’ argument is overstated. It may play a role, yes, but if we’re talking biology, young men are more likely to get a woman pregnant in the first place, and the baby is more likely to be carried to harm and be free of birth defects. So from the biological perspective, men are at their peak around the same time as women. How many sperm banks will accept donors older than 4O?

        But of course it is true that there is no absolute cut off in fertility for men, as there is for women. So while it may have some impact on perceived attractiveness, if we take ‘biology’ as our main argument, then women should favour young men, without a doubt. But as you say, we’re better than biology. Or at least we should be.

      • Beth says:

        You raise a good point, Ethelreda. Truthfully, the average 50-year-old man who makes an average income and isn’t extremely good looking likely doesn’t reap the benefits of the notion that men age like wine.

        That being said, I find this belief is often prevalent amongst young men. Perhaps because they struggled with success and meeting women in their youth, they use this belief as a crutch for their shortcomings. The reality is most men are not going to mature into silver foxes and they certainly are not going to be wealthy Fortune 500 CEOs, but it becomes a fantasy to cling to when you are uncertain of your future and unhappy with your present. Plus, it fuels the idea that the 21-year-old beauties who rejected you during their youth become “worthless” with age, while you become a man of character and wisdom.

      • Ethelreda says:

        Exactly Beth.

        For some men, the notion that women are all dried up and used up once they hit the menopause, if not before, is somehow quite soothing. Even if they’re divorcees with nasal hair and moobs, still paying off the mortgage and worried lest that bright young thing takes their job, they can console themselves with the idea that their attraction to women is somehow ageless, even if no woman would look twice at them.

      • Cate says:

        I brought this up in a reply earlier, but your comment’s so true. It’s very easy to prove if you head up over to the average dating site. Most younger men are willing to date a bit older than their age, but a lot, as soon as they hit 30 still want a 20 something. They age, but their potential gf’s/S.O’s stay the same age! Isn’t that weird? And the older they get the less they care about age difference. 45 olds easily put in 25 to 35 as a age requirement. It amuses the *beep* out of me, because I’m not talking about handsome, interesting men here. The average ‘dude’ has such a self-confidence sometimes, like I envy them. They have no qualms of trying to get with someone much younger/prettier than them. While the average woman would think twice about trying to talk to a man who’d be twice as young and hotter than them. Ugh, so annoying. But it’s the result of 1000′s of years brainwashing really. Thank god there are exceptions too…

      • Ethelreda says:

        @Cate

        I read somewhere about how a journalist did a sort of experiment whereby she’d contact men on an online dating site and say ”I looked at your profile and saw you were the type of man who would really interest me. However, because I’m 53, and you specified you didn’t want women over 3O, obviously you won’t be interested in me. Bye”.

        She said that nearly always, she’d quickly get a response from the man saying ”Wait! When I said I wanted a woman aged 25, I didn’t really mean it! I just thought it sounded right.”

        I think men believe that they are ‘supposed’ to find younger women attractive, just as women think they’re ‘supposed’ to find older men attractive. But reality doesn’t always work out that way, especially because few 25 year old women would be remotely interested in a 5O something man, unless maybe he’s Mark Strong or Colin Firth. So May-December relationships are actually very rare in real life, even though Hollywood woulld have us believe they’re the norm.

      • Cate says:

        LOL, yes, that’s probably very true. They feel like they have to put a limit to an age. But when a 34 year old tops it off at 35, while 25 is still okay, it does irk me. And this is why online dating and me just doesn’t work. I always lose my patience when I stop finding it funny. ;-)

  9. santana says:

    something is changing though. Two words: Robin Wright, as the whole word is binging on House Of Cards, she’s singlehanded proving that a 48 year old actress can be the leading, can be sexy as hell and give a run for their money to any 25 year old girl. You got to be talented, though, because without that into the equation everything reduces to just an arm candy role, and that’s what every actress should be fighting against, whether they’re 20 or 50 years old.

    • ell says:

      television has quite a few over 40s female leads, and that’s where you can see the change. in films it’s still the same though.

    • Nancy says:

      Kyra Sedgwick and Julianna Marguiles also. But whoa these women all have in common is they are also very attractive and very Skinny. No too many overweight 50 year olds in Hollywood getting work.

  10. EM says:

    Hollywood is ageist. i’ve only seen her in French films of late.

  11. seesittellsit says:

    The “silver fox” b.s. only applies to wealthy and/or successful and/or famous men. No aging taxi driver or plumber is thought of as a “silver fox”. Partly women are the victim of Mother Nature and biology: once past procreative age, women are technically on Mother Nature’s dust heap. As men for all practical intents and purposes are never past procreative age, the perception of sexual desirability is skewed and lasts much longer, even when those men look ridiculous (and many of them do). Receding hairlines, paunches, age spots, jowls – those men have all of that. But they can still father children so if they’re also wealthy and successful, they get away with it. That’s all it is.

    • Ethelreda says:

      I would say that if all they’re looking for is a handsome gold digger, wealthy and succesful older women will rarely find themselves short of a date either. It’s just that there are far fewer rich women than rich men.

    • Lisa says:

      Not really, unless they are super fertile or use ivf. They have only seriously started studying how age impacts male fertility in the past 15 years and it impacts it A LOT.

      Several population studies in the past 15 years have found male fertility declines at about the same rate as a woman’s for most men. They are actually studying a woman’s odds of getting pregnant by looking at the age of her partner now and they found that male fertility drops significantly by 35 and most have lost 50% by 40, both of which are true of women. The older men get the longer it will take them, usually, to get even very young women pregnant and these time increase begin in his early 30s. A 40 year old will usually take a year and a half to get a woman under 25 pregnant, a 45 yr. old 2 years and men in their 50s 3 years. Miscarriage rates go up with the age of a woman”s partner regardless of her age. and the risks start increasing when a man is 25. A woman is 60% more likely to have a miscarriage with a 40 year old than a 25 year old, no matter her age. Two studies found women with older partners have higher rates of pregnancy complications as well.

      So, yeah theoretically older men can get women pregnant but it gets more and more improbable with age. And numerous genetic illnesses have been linked to fathers 40 and over.

      • Ethelreda says:

        And it’s not only about biology.

        It’s generally accepted that if a woman hasn’t had a child by about age 45, she almost certainly never will, unless she adopts. But realistically, how many men are likely to start a family after say, age 5O? Very few, I should think. Men love pointing to examples of rich or famous men who have become fathers at a ripe old age, but the reality is that very few young, fertile women are willing to have babies with men in their fifties or older.

        So even if from a purely biological point of view, men are at least theoretically fertile for decades longer than women are, in practical terms, unless they’re film stars or millionaires, men’s ‘sell by date’ isn’t that much different to women’s.

      • Lisa says:

        @ethelreda. True, but young women are rarely interested in men in their 40s, either, at least not for a serious relationship but you see it in movies all the time. Most young women pair with someone within a few years of their own age. Marriage where the woman is 10+ years younger happen in 5% of marriages but in Hollywood romances they are the norm because it’s whats MEN wants to see.

      • Ethelreda says:

        Exactly. It’s a male fantasy that has little to do with real life. I mentioned ‘Focus’ above, the latest in a long line of films where the male lead is decades older than the woman, even though in real life, both of them are with people about their own age.

        A lot of older men somehow think it’s their ‘right’ to be with a young, attractive woman, even if they have nothing to offer. They then get bitter when they’re laughed at by young women, and go off to purchase themselves a bride somewhere in the third world, all the time whining about how ‘entitled’ WEstern women are. Lol.

      • Cate says:

        @Lisa, so on point – it’s what THEY want to see and secretly hope for!

  12. j.eyre says:

    A movie about an aging female superhero would be brilliant – from either angle; whether it be an actress known for her superhero role or an actual superhero aging in the male dominated superhero world.

    I would like to think someone like KST would be invisible to no one. I believe Hollywood does have their “go-to” older female actresses who lend gravitas to a movie even with merely a cameo. If Hollywood can break out of their rut of writing the same film in a hundred ways, they will be able to see stories that allow for a wider variety of roles for everyone.

    • Amy Tennant says:

      Oh, a story about an actual aging superheroine would be really cool

    • lucy2 says:

      I would love a female Birdman type of film, but considering how hard it is to get a female superhero movie to begin with…

    • tracking says:

      Yes, j.eyre, agreed! But her point is that there are very few leading roles for women over 40. It’s true that most female parts are love interests, and the older women get supporting roles. She has every right to feel frustrated, even if she does lend gravitas to smaller roles, and has been very smart to work in French films which are not quite as age-ist as American ones. But let’s all vote with our wallets when films come out that break that mold!

  13. Judy says:

    We are the problem, and by we I mean the collective WE. In this case Hollywood is a reflection of us, the culture. WE think Keaton, Pitt and Clooney are sexy. Maybe if we as a culture thought, really thought, that older actresses are sexy then things would change. Personally I don’t feel that these older men are any sexier than their female counterparts. But then again, I find few people sexy. If I’m watching a movie and I see Depp or Clooney trying to sex some young thing up I don’t feel it in my girly parts, I just don’t. But I’m hard to please.
    Scott Thomas is right though, about older women becoming invisible. A friend of mine was just saying that at 48 she lost her pull. I just had a guy run across a parking lot to tell me I was beautiful. That was the first time in months that a stranger told me that. It used to be a constant thing. I’m getting older and I feel good when I look good so I still put in the effort, I just have to accept that I may only get that special twinkle in the eye from an older guy.

    • Ethelreda says:

      ”Scott Thomas is right though, about older women becoming invisible. A friend of mine was just saying that at 48 she lost her pull.”

      Just because you don’t have the same ‘pull’ as you did 15 years ago doesn’t mean you are ‘invisible’. Most peoplle – male and female — are less superficially attractive at 5O than they were at 25, but that’s not the same as being ‘invisible’. There’s more to life than getting ogled by strangers in the street.

    • seesittellsit says:

      I think we have to start distinguishing between getting twinkles from strangers and from SOs, because it’s the latter that matter, not the former. I’m fortunate to be happily coupled so the wistful twinge of not getting eyed by strangers is quite faint. For actresses, it seems as if you get good roles in your 20s-30s, and then in your 60s-80s; it’s the 40-60 gap that seems to be where actresses and actors of the same age part company in roles. I still think very very ancient biological views inform all this, but that said, it’s true that Europe is somewhat ahead of the US in this respect. Gwyneth Paltrow is already a has-been (not that I ever thought she was all that talented) – she is only a few years older than the “rising” and wearily ubiquitous Benedict Cumberbatch. Women like Salma Hayek played it smart, married very rich while young and gorgeous, and got on the other side of business.

      • Ethelreda says:

        Actually, Hayek married at the age of 42, gorgeous yes, but not that young. In fact, she was the same age as ‘has been’ Paltrow is now.

        And if Paltrow is a ‘has been’ – I don’t neccessarily think so – it may be because she took so much time out of her career to raise her kids, and because for several years she’s been more interested in her sillly lifestyle site than in acting. Julianne Moore and Cate Blanchett, who are both older than Paltrow, got Oscars in the last two years. As for Cumberbatch, he may be ubiquitous now, but will he be in 5 years time? I doubt it.

        So while I agree that there is ageism and sexism in Hollywood, I don’t think your examples necessarily bear that out.

  14. Margo says:

    She’s definitely right, at least in the U.S. and (to a slightly lesser extent) in the U.K. film industries. At least she has the advantage of being bilingual; she’s played some terrific parts in French films over the last decade or so, but older actresses tend to be more respected in France anyway.

  15. Stephanie says:

    If you missed “Still Mine,” now on Netflix with Genevieve Bujold and James Cromwell, treat yourself to a pretty steamy sex scene! She’s as empowered and amazing today as she ever was in “Anne of a Thousand Days.”

  16. md1979 says:

    I love that yellow dress and the way she is styled. Amazing.

    • RosettaStoned says:

      Me too, I stared at that picture for way too long! I was surprised at how fascinated I was lol but that is indeed a killer look.

  17. Esmerelda says:

    Ageing superhero? Silk Spectre?
    …but I’ll totally support KST in her action career reboot: if I can buy Liam Neeson kicking ass at his age, I can buy KST doing the same.

  18. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    I’ve read other interviews with her, and she came across as someone I wouldn’t like in real life. But she’s a great actress, and I hope she resists the pressure to get plastic surgery. She doesn’t “need” it because she’s gorgeous, but more importantly, she doesn’t need it because she has actual talent. I wish Hollywood would change its views on older women.

    • perplexed says:

      She comes across as a half-glass-empty kind of person to me.

      In another interview she talked about feeling invisible in middle-age, and I couldn’t help but contrast her pessimism with Olivia Newton John’s optimism about being 50, because she was glad to make it that far after beating cancer.

      On some level I think Kristen Scott Thomas might be a realist and is telling some harsh truths, which I wouldn’t necessarily dispute because of the patriarchal society in which we live, but at the same time she’s so elegant and refined-looking, I couldn’t help but feel taken aback that she felt helpless about her “invisibility.” Given how regal she looks, I figured people would appreciate the air of elegance she brings when she walks into a room. Yet she was so emphatic about feeling invisible, I wound up strangely worried and distressed about how I might wind up feeling about aging when I hit her age (since I don’t have her air of regality or gravitas).

  19. lon14 says:

    Angelina Jolie was asked during either Salt or Wanted press conference if she saw her age as a factor in her playing action roles and she gave a really good answer – if Harrison is kicking butt in his 60s, why not her? It was cute & got laughs, but you could tell she meant it. Of course, she has proven box office behind her, but her attitude about aging and role choice throughout her career (no waiting for a man to save her, no being a victim to be rescued, going outside the box with Tomb Raider) is inspirational and worth emulating. Sadly, she has since gotten into directing, so we probably won’t see the 65 year old Angie kicking butt, but it is a good message to put out there.

    • tracking says:

      Well, but it was very much a hypothetical for her at that time. Her response might be different now that she’s about to enter her 40s, and it doesn’t seem there is enough interest to make Salt 2 happen. She’s a smart woman, and moving behind the camera is a smart move. But a sad commentary on the point that KT is making here.

      • lon14 says:

        Well, based on Angelina being very consistent on empowering women- both through actions and words for many years- I doubt she would have a different answer. She has made it very clear, however, that she prefers to direct over acting. By choice, she has taken far fewer roles than her peers since becoming a mother, so action or not, she is seen less. BTW- There is HUGE interest in Salt 2 even before it hit (from everybody except Angelina)- Sony made big money & would love to keep being in business with her. She hasn’t dissed it, but chooses to fill her time with her family, charity and directing instead and has mentioned that acting was really more of her mother’s passion. Even Chiwetel has said a few times he’d come back if Angie wanted to do it. I would LOVE to see it, but she has a right to her choices :)

  20. vauvert says:

    One of the reasons I love Netflix is that I can watch a lot more foreign movies, not just British and French, which often will feature older women (including KST) but also little known or heard of things like an Algerian gem (Delice Paloma) featuring an incredible performance by a fifties something actress, who is a handsome woman but you can tell has built a career on talent and very little on being just a bombshell. And I think that the more such films are viewed, the more HW will end up – someday, realizing that it is OK to have your lead actress have wrinkles and age spots. As long as they can see that it is possible to make money that way, they will change.
    Unfortunately right now KST is right, HW is extremely discriminatory to women as they age, which is why so many of them freeze, cut, plump, lift and end up looking like grotesque wax figures. So as a group, yes it is incumbent upon us all to seek out the movies, art house or foreign, that do take a chance, and make sure we see them, talk about them, help them become a commercial success. It’s the only way to make a change.

  21. I Choose Me says:

    I absolutely would watch a movie about an aging female former superhero. And I wish I had the talent to write such a screenplay and the money to produce it since Hollywood clearly won’t.

  22. H says:

    I once had a job interview with a major retail clothing store for summer work–I’m a teacher–and it went great with assistant manager, a guy my age (late 30′s/early 40′s). He practically guaranteed me the job when I said I had no issues working weekends! Next up in interview process, guy was the manager looked like a very young Tom Cruise. He looks at my resume says: “Why would you want to work with a bunch of kids? You that desperate for a job?” My response at his blatant slam on my age and rudeness: “I work with children everyday so that’s no problem!” (Phony smile on my face. ) Yeah, never got a call back. I’ve also never shopped at that store again and neither have any of my friends or family. :)

    Ageism is alive and well in regular America, so in Hollywood? I bet it’s even more blatant.

  23. it'sjustblanche says:

    I have to be honest: In real life, not in the movies that is, I rarely see men over 50 who are hot, but I frequently see good-looking women in that age category. If they take care of themselves, and I live in Atlanta and you have a lot of well-preserved matrons here, women tend to look better than their male counterparts. A lot of the men in the south start going paunchy when they hit 40, like it’s their right.

    I do have male friends who are completely deluded about their attractiveness to younger women though. Which is why they are all alone.

    • Cate says:

      ^^^ All of this! Men can be so deluded about their attractiveness. It’s kind of hilarious…

      • Ethelreda says:

        What’s even funnier is when men insist that they know what women find attractive even better than the women themselves. Honestly, if I had a penny for every time a a man told me that ”Women are not visual”, ”Women are not interested in looks”, ”Women prefer power and status to a hot body” then I could retire tomorrow. And no matter how often I tell them that none of the above is really true, they STILL insist. After all, men have been tellling women what to think since time immorial, so why stop now? Especially when it makes ageing men feel good about themselves.

  24. perplexed says:

    When she talks about feeling “invisible” is she only talking about desirability? ( When you’re 50, do you really care whether an 18 year old pays attention to you or not?)

    I suppose I ask this question because I don’t see people like Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, or Oprah as being invisible. People pay attention to them.

    I know the film industry is harsh, but in other areas of life would being invisible really be as she’s described? (In one of her other other interviews, she mentioned that doors get smashed in her face, and I found it a bit troubling, probably because I then suddenly started wondering whether people were more attentive to holding the door for me when I was 18. And I couldn’t remember as I had never thought about it. I just figured some people were more polite than others….) Even in the film industry, I feel as though someone like Meryl Streep isn’t ignored because we all recognize her talent and her accomplishments. But I feel men at that age are also expected to be talented and accomplished and have a somewhat decent resume. Would anyone really be paying attention to 60 year old Richard Grieco vs 60 year old Leonardo DiCaprio?. I feel as though while Kristen Scott Thomas may not get the same roles she did when she was 20 I think younger people and people in her own age range would probably look up to her for what she’s accomplished.

    • wolfpup says:

      I decided to let my hair show the wisdom of my age, because I was just so tired of young men believing that they had some sort of access to my sexuality. Men don’t stop coming after you throughout the years, because sexual interest seems to never abate with them – even if they need drugs like Viagra to do it. But the younger guys just annoy me by thinking that I would have any interest in immature men going after an older women (what are they – hard up?). I like the power that comes from remaining feisty and whole – but this is power that comes from my ability to be myself, rather than from – a mere appearance. I’m the boss now! They’ve lost all control over me.

  25. minxx says:

    I totally get her point. I’m 50 and I stopped being visible to men about 3 years ago. I was attractive when young, even very attractive but fortunately I did’t base my self-esteem on my looks . I can imagine that actresses have even harder time growing old because of constant pressure to look young. French actresses have an easier time simply because French culture considers women of a “certain age” interesting. Still, I’d like to see how for ex. Juliette Binoche handles it. I was recently on a business trip with a woman and a guy around my age. He kept joking with a girl ca. 30, who traveled with us and was trying very, very hard to make an impression on her. She was amused but my friend and I exchanged those looks: this is how it feels to be invisible :)

    • wolfpup says:

      I don’t believe that it is all about age. I believe that many of these men need a very young woman, because they need someone more *vulnerable* than an older women, who might be able to look up to them more – it’s all about their ego. (I simply call them wimps – they can’t handle us!)

  26. geneva says:

    great topics and it does touch on the feeling for women of a certain age – and how it feels to be invisible. I very much don’t like being a woman in my 50s….and it is in your 50s that this whole invisible thing begins. Why, when? I don’t know but there you are. It exists. I for one would love to see Kristen Scott Thomas in a good role.. she deserves a Hollywood moment again.

    In RL. as men get older and maybe I mean 70s or more they resent and resist and don’t adjust to aging and usually put the burden of it on the women in their lives. It is hard enough to be invisible as a woman in her mid 50s and beyond but just when you start saying…I am going to just enjoy my life …the men in their lives that they looked forward to growing old with become as huge, heavy anchors and the women are forced to lead them into old age at the same moment they have begun to break free of vanities and feeling invisible and are simply out there embracing life. Maybe it is good that we have had more time to prepare for it…we accept it where many men never will.

  27. Danielleisgodess says:

    I see her point. But she is still stunning isn’t she?

  28. amarie says:

    I have read interviews of KST and she does come off as negative, dreary and complaining. She really has little to complain of in my opinion; she is enormously beautiful, talented, she appears in good films, she is on the London stage, and she will be doing great things in the decades to come, if her attitude permits.
    Luckily I never was a hottie at any stage of my life, so I suffer no let down. When I was younger, I was painfully shy. Not a natural beauty, I have average looks that can be enhanced but back then I did not know how. I was a bit tall, flat chested, and my awkward, reserved personality didnt make men swoon. I never got by on my looks. But I did have boyfriends here and there :-) . The type of men that ignored me then and ignore me now are generally cocky types I really don;t care about anyway. Who wants to flirt with some shallow jerk when there are nicer, more substantial guys around. I am (OMG) 51 and I meet men on the street and in passing and get an appreciative look and a smile, and I smile right back. Look and you will be seen.

    Hollywood is pure BS fantasy. I seldom watch the hollywood stuff, I like indies, british flicks, foreign films and classics. If I were an actress, I would stick to London and New York. There is good stuff with older women everywhere there, for character actresses. TALENT is key. Being a Hollywood ingenue is a dead end.