Russell Crowe still doesn’t get why actresses complain about the lack of roles


Last December, Russell Crowe gave an interview to an Australian outlet and he ended up causing a controversy. His male privilege leaked out all over the place when he chatted about how actresses over the age of 35 just need to accept their age and stop trying to play the ingenue, and that it’s a total myth that actresses have problems finding parts beyond a certain age. He was widely criticized, as he should have been. Well, Rusty has a new film – The Water Diviner – and he’s on a big press tour. He sat down with The Guardian for a wide-ranging (and actually pretty entertaining) interview – you can read the full piece here. Towards the end of the interview, he was asked about those December comments, and he tries to clarify. Some highlights from The Guardian piece:

He doesn’t believe actors should do endorsements/ads: “Look, there will possibly come a time when I start doing commercials and you’ll know then that I’ve just given up. Other people can do whatever they want. It’s just my thing. But it’s just reaping, you know? We’re supposed to play different characters. We’re not supposed to lock ourselves and become an icon. I have a … A certain opinion about that level of vanity.”

His life after his Oscar win: “Even walking down the street was a pain in the arse. People want a piece of you. And something else happens, man. You build all these friendships and then you hit a certain level within the business and those people need you now, if you’re connected to their thing, their thing gets done, their life is enriched, and friendships get damaged because you say no. Suddenly I was destroying people’s hopes and dreams if I said no to something. It was rather intense.”

He never wanted to live in LA or London: “It’s not healthy as me for an individual, to sleep in the office. There’s an ease that I have living in Australia. The best things about Sydney are free: the sunshine’s free and the harbour’s free and the beach is free. Some cities, and this place [London] is one example, there’s all these clubs and you need membership and, you know, six people to tick your name and all that. F–k all that, man.”

His comments about actresses and aging: “It doesn’t matter what age you are, right? But what I said about knowing 40-year-old women who are absolutely certain that because they eat the right things, they do yoga, look after their bodies … they look sensational, but that still doesn’t mean they look 21. In their eyes, there’s not the ingenue kind of innocence. I can’t be the gladiator any more. I don’t have that kind of physicality. Look the thing that people are talking about in terms of ageism or sexism or whatever, that’s prevalent everywhere and it’s male and female. When my dad was 45, he was suddenly unemployable. He’d always been the boss, always been in control, but now, in the job he was doing, there was a 25 year old who could do it for half the money. So that’s life. But the examples I used – Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep – there’s a dozen women, Maggie Smith and whatever …I’m just saying: be comfortable in your own skin. Sure, you know, if you’re lucky enough you get to be the ingenue, but then at a certain point, you’re the dowager. But enjoy playing that role too.”

[From The Guardian]

Rusty still doesn’t get it, does he? “If you’re lucky enough you get to be the ingenue, but then at a certain point, you’re the dowager…” Yes, Rusty, that’s exactly the problem. It’s not that actresses are complaining about playing dowagers, it’s that the only roles for women in most Hollywood films are the ingénue or the hard-scrabble mom or grandmother. The issue is not with the state of mind with any particular actress, the issue is with the system that devalues female characters and the breadth of experiences of women at every age. And the fact that Russell Crowe is still considered a leading man and a go-to guy for studios at his age (50) is proof positive that the system isn’t working for actresses.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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32 Responses to “Russell Crowe still doesn’t get why actresses complain about the lack of roles”

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  1. Newgirl says:

    Why is he even on celebitchy. Things that make you go… Meh

  2. Pri says:

    Disagree with the actresses point.

    But totally agree with regards to London! I found it quite…class-ish still. Ironically, they all hated Downton Abbey as it depicts an era that they think is over.

    • Sofia says:

      I was going to write that he just knows the posh version of London and probably never tried to discover anything else. There’s much more to the city than the private expensive clubs. Parks are free and many museums are free too. You have families doing picnics, flying kites… Sydney is not heaven like he sort of tries to portray either. But it’s normal to feel better in a place that was pretty much home all his life but that doesn’t mean everything else is bad.

  3. meme says:

    He’s honest, speaks his mind and doesn’t apologize for it. I like that in a person.

  4. FingerBinger says:

    Australia sounds great ,but where I live the sunshine is free too. The beaches are free too but you might have to pay for parking.

  5. Jenns says:

    The best part of the interview was how Michael Jackson used to prank call him.

  6. Tiffany says:

    Be careful Russy. You are one more flop away from needing to take an endorsement. Pride don’t pay for the mansion, child support or alimony.

  7. mia girl says:

    Yeah, well I still don’t get why they let him play Javert in Les Miserables.

  8. Lilacflowers says:

    “There’s a dozen women”. That’s right, Russell, a dozen women, as opposed to dozens of men. By the way, did you happen to notice that your little list didn’t include any women of your own age? Do you think Marissa Tomei, Laura Linney, Vivica A. Fox, Mary-Louise Parker, Debi Mazar, Hope Davis, Bridget Fonda, Juliette Binoche, Famke Janssen, Wanda Sykes, Gloria Reuben, and Rosie Perez would agree with you? And none of that group seems to be seeking out ingenue roles. They work, yes, but do they get paid anywhere as much as you do? Are they offered the same number of roles or do they have to seek them out? Several of those women, like you have Oscars.

    • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

      And look better than him. Seriously. My eyes about bugged out of my head when I watched “Hannibal” for the first time….Laurence Fishbourne has recently lost weight (via “Blackish)….but he looked bloated on “Hannibal”, and I know that if it had been a woman that age, NO WAY would she have been hired for anything…….I’ve never thought Russell was all that attractive to begin with.

    • Kitten says:


      No surprises here. I’ve always found him to be a huge douche.

    • KatyD says:

      Totally agree w/Lilacflowers.

      They just did a study that found only 10% of movies recently made had female protagonists in them. Moreover, of all the movies made, women form 30% of the speaking roles and these are often side-piece/eye-candy characters who are decades younger than the male leads. There’ s not many roles for women and most roles go to the ingenues. Even roles written for women in their 30s go to younger actresses. For instance, Jennifer Lawrence is now doing her 3rd or 4th movie where the character she’s playing should be in her 30s and she’s like 24. The blatant sexism is obvious to anyone who watches films regularly.

      But I think Crowe lives in his own bubble of male privelege and refuses to acknowledge the obvious. He’s a total a-hole, and ever since his phone-throwing tantrum, I refuse to watch anything he’s in. Can you imagine if a female actress did that? Would she ever work again and be respected like him? I doubt it. Such a privilege to be him…

  9. minx says:

    I loved him so much in the Insider/Gladiator/Beautiful Mind era.
    Now he’s not aging well and is saying stupid things. Sigh.

    • Santolina says:

      Same here, and I loved him even BEFORE Insider/Gladiator/Beautiful Mind. But yeah, he’s revealed himself to be an arrogant, petty and sometimes violent person who surrounds himself with servants who never question him. He never rises above a conflict to be the bigger person.

  10. Green Is Good says:

    I hope he ends up schilling for Cialis.

  11. Trillion says:

    He couldn’t even make it to 12 in his “dozen” example. And who among his female counterparts – overweight, gray-haired 50 yr olds- are offered lead roles? Or even small roles other than “The fat old lady” comedic-relief ones? He’s full of shit.

    • Lilacflowers says:

      He didn’t name any 50 year olds. He named two women in their mid to late 60s and an 80 year old, all Oscar winners.

  12. Pandy says:

    I have to grudgingly concede his point. If that’s the roles being offered, it’s not his fault. And he owns that he’s too old for younger man physical roles, so he’s not saying it doesn’t affect men as well. He’s not a scriptwriter so he can’t be faulted for the lack of roles.

    • lucy2 says:

      I don’t think anyone is blaming him directly though, just annoyed that he’s oblivious to the fact that the problem exists. And he may not be playing a gladiator anymore, but is still getting leading roles, and likely has a much larger choice of roles because more exist for men than they do for women in his age range.

    • Feebee says:

      No but it’s easy to tell older women they should relax about their career prospects when there are plenty of good roles for older men and a smattering for older women. When you are in a group on the positive side of an -ism sometimes you should check yourself.

  13. lucy2 says:

    He stated the problem without even realizing it – it’s ingenue or dowager. Where’s the in between?
    Just this morning I heard an actress on a podcast say that her own management told her she was too old for a role offered to her – she was 37 and the guy who would play her husband was 30.
    I wish he’d just realize that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and just shut up already.

  14. Sofia says:

    I like the fact that he doesn’t go for the endorsements road. Unless you want to be a STAR you shouldn’t do it because you play characters and not yourself. When they do it they’re just capitalizing on their characters and public persona. When actors do ads they reinforce their celebrity status and while that can bring more people to the theaters, imo, it hurts the film because you start to know too much about the actor and it becomes difficult to just see the character. And many times it’s pretty much just about vanity and greediness.

  15. Feebee says:

    C’mon Australia just give him citizenship already!

    People who double down on this stuff are insufferable. No one is saying the women aren’t comfortable in their own skin. It’s the industry who don’t seem comfortable with them. He doesn’t get it and it’s clear he never will.

  16. Micki says:

    I’ve never been a fan. Let me ignore him further on.

  17. serene says:

    He sounds dumb. There are also too many ‘whatever’, like he doesn’t really care. Then he should just shut up about a subject like ageism in HW that’s obvious to almost everybody.

  18. PennyLane says:

    Not to mention the fact that no female actress in their 40s would be allowed to gain 30 pounds around their middle like he has done. He said it himself – they’d be doing yoga, they’d be doing Pilates, they’d be eating vegan etc. etc. just to get their slim body back.

    That Amish-style overcoat he’s wearing doesn’t fool anyone. Dude’s gained a TON of weight in the last few years, and he just doesn’t have any reason to drop it.

    • Anne tommy says:

      I’m not going to go into the older women in movies issue cos I’ll just annoy myself. But I was a few feet away from russell at the Noah premiere in dublin and he looked damn good. Nice clear skin whatever about his boozing rep, and nice hair that he’s not pretending isn’t greying a bit. He looked solid but not obese. He can be an eejit but he’s a fine figure of a man if you like that sort of thing – and I do.