Winona Ryder: ‘I understand the debate about roles for women my age’

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Stranger Things season two is premiering on October 27, 2017. The most wonderful time of the year (Halloween) is coming up soon and I can’t wait! (Prior to that we have It coming out much sooner, on September 8, with one cast member from Stranger Things, Finn Wolfhard.) As part of promotion for the show, the main kid crew from the show covers New York Magazine. In the cover photo (below) they’re all wearing denim, the photo is taken from above, they’re in a circle and they look like they’re jumping or otherwise in motion. It’s a kind of tribute to the Upside Down, which is clever but I had to read that on NY Mag’s site to get it. They actually have two interviews, one with creators The Duffer Brothers explaining how the show happened (they love 80s cinema, having grown up in that era, and wanted to make a show that looked like a Stephen King story directed by Spielberg) and another with the young castmembers. I’m going to focus on the cast as that’s more interesting for more people, but if you’re a fan I would suggest reading the interview with the Duffer Brothers as well, they give a lot of good advice on career stick-to-it-iveness, although let’s face it they’re only 33. I’m also adding some quotes from a CBS interview with the cast and creators.

Millie Bobby Brown on staying low-tech when they have breaks on set
“We play cards, we play Monopoly, we play games in the school trailer. As soon as we’re working, we’re kind of like those ’80s kids again.”

Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin) on fame
“A lot of people consider us famous, but I think we all hate the F-word. All we are is people doing our job, and our job happens to be in the public eye a lot.”- From NY Mag’s Vulture

Gaten Matarazzo on his teeth
“When you’re born with cleidocranial dysplasia, I have extra teeth that shouldn’t be there. And they don’t grow in properly because of the way my skull is shaped…

“I would go in for, like, commercial auditions, they would say to me, ‘Hey, you’re a good kid. But you might want to get your teeth fixed.'”

Winona Ryder on her role in Stranger Things
“I understand the debate about roles for women, like, my age. There are times when it feels like there’s a real drought. But I do think you can get lucky with certain shows or certain directors.

“And hopefully that will keep happening. I don’t know!” – From CBS News

[From Vulture and CBS]

As for Winona’s thoughts on ageism in casting – she’s previously said it’s not really a problem for her, or she doesn’t see it as one. She said last yearI know it exists. You’re the girlfriend, then you’re the mother. But I don’t see it as a bad thing – it can be just as interesting, if not more so, than the leading-lady, ingénue phase.” Her opinion is likely affected by the drought she went through after her shoplifting arrest when she was relatively young. She’s 45, she likely views her career through that perspective and is just happy to be working at this point.

The Vulture piece on the young cast also focuses on their friendships and notes that they hang out often off set and all seem to really like and appreciate one another. It was nice to read and shows that the Stranger Things set must be a supportive place to work.




Photos credit: Getty, WENN and NYMag

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20 Responses to “Winona Ryder: ‘I understand the debate about roles for women my age’”

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  1. Birdix says:

    Speaking of It–my kid saw the trailer, had nightmares for THREE nights. If I wanted to send her screaming from the room, all I’d have to do is hold a balloon in front of my face. We’re a tad wimpy…(how scary is it?)

    • tanesha86 says:

      @Birdix I just recently read the book and it gave me nightmares. I watched the original mini series as a kid and it was pretty good for what it was but if the reboot is as faithful to the book as people are saying it will be absolutely terrifying.

  2. Jessica says:

    Honestly there’s a drought unless your A-list: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Viola Davis, Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman, Octavia Spencer, Rachel Weisz, Taraji P Henson, etc (I could go on) seem to work consistently or whenever they feel like it.

    • Kathleen says:

      Jessica Chastain and Amy Adams too. However, I think this is the issue though in addition to the KINDS of stories these women get to tell. And the fact that they have to be seen as A list to work like this whereas there are tons of men in their 40’s and 50’s who are not A list who get breaks for far longer.

      I also think you need to look at how often these women get to be part of real love stories vs. men who in their 40’s and 50’s who regularly get to be part of romantic epics/romantic leads etc. It’s not that women don’t WORK over 40…they do. But they don’t often get to still be viewed as desirable and beloved in the same way a MAN might be at that age. A lot of times women over 40 are stuck playing women who are considered “bitter” in the narrative, “broken” “abused” “assaulted” etc. Viola Davis has talked about this and obviously she’s talking about it twice over as both a woman over 40 and a black woman. But she’s been someone who has said, you know…..when do older women just get to be sexual and loved without it being a thing? THAT is where you see the disparity.

      • Miss S says:

        Also, look at non A list male actors everywhere and how “easy” they find interesting and diversified roles, the usually called “character actors”. The ones who write seem to easily put female characters into limited boxes while male ones are allowed more than stereotypes.

  3. Lucy says:

    Cute interview! I will always say this, though: The fact that Winona had to go through what she did because of a stupid mistake while known (male) abusers are constantly given chances speaks high volumes about the industry.

    • ArchieGoodwin says:

      yes, 100%

    • Ksenia says:

      Except, Winona actually DID shoplift. Not only did she admit to it, there was evidence of her stealing on video camera. So I’m not sure what you mean by a “mistake?”

      • Megan2 says:

        Shoplifting WAS the mistake. Winona made a mistake, and was punished not only by the law but by the Hollywood community for AGES because of it. Despite the fact that it was shoplifting, which I think most people would agree is a lesser degree of evil than, say, beating up your wife or going on anti-semetic rants during an arrest.

        Basically, what I think Lucy is saying is that Hollywood has forgiven a lot worse, and a lot faster, of its leading men than its women. It’s a double standard, and acknowledging that doesn’t take away from the fact that she did, indeed, make a mistake for which she was appropriately penalized by the law.

        What part of Lucy’s statement disturbed you the most, Ksenia? Just wondering… are you here to defend the abusive men of Hollywood from criticism as you have on past posts? Can’t wait.

    • snowflake says:

      Like, say, Charlie Sheen? Yeah, I thought that was crazy too.

    • Wilder says:

      But didn’t Winona kind of “punish” herself, too, by purposely taking a break from Hollywood? It sounds like she didn’t even try to find roles for a few years, that she realized she needed to take some time off. Not saying she wasn’t punished by Hollywood execs, but I don’t think she would have been out of the spotlight as long as she was if it wasn’t partly her own choice. She was SO beloved in her twenties. She was THE ingenue that everyone wanted in their movie. Hollywood does have a marked tendency to “forgive” men more than women, but it depends on the woman. As a small, pretty, white woman with big eyes, and a demeanour that always gave off a “someone take care of me” vibe, I’m sure Winona would have found her way back “in” pretty easily.

  4. msd says:

    She’ll probably get some stick for not overtly complaining but I get what she’s saying: ingenue roles can lack depth and older characters are often more interesting. There just needs to be more of them! Also, maybe she’s self-aware enough to realise she nabbed a lot of roles early on for being young and attractive rather than the best actress.

  5. Originaltessa says:

    Just a personal aside, I think her work in Little Women was outstanding and I believe Oscar worthy.

  6. Miss S says:

    I wonder how people would react if someone else less “likable” had said this.

  7. INeedANap says:

    Wait who is the girl in the bottom left on the cover?

  8. serena says:

    Who’s the girl with red hair on the cover?

  9. BB Carrots says:

    The redhead is playing a new character we’ll meet in season 2. Can’t remember her name…