Geena Davis draws more attention for her work away from the silver screen these days.
The 65-year-old Oscar winner is still seeking gigs, but Hollywood has less use for older female stars. Amy Schumer torched that reality via this crude, cutting short a few years back.
Think that’s unfair?
For every Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep or Frances McDormand there are dozens of older actresses who fade from cinematic view in their 40s and 50s. Men are generally allowed to age into different roles – think Kevin Costner and Liam Neeson who remain hyper busy – or bed actresses a decade (or more) younger on screen.
It’s why Davis is committed to highlighting the issue with her charity as well as projects like the 2019 documentary “This Changes Everything.”
Davis told CBS News, per The Hollywood Reporter, that for all of Hollywood’s virtue signaling the sad truth for older actresses persists despite the industry’s progressive mien.
“It’s much different for female actors past 50 than male actors past 50 … the majority of female characters, I believe, are in their 20s, and the majority of male actors are in their 30s and 40s….”
“They’re so few [opportunities] — I mean, if you look at people in my age range, they’re so few that are really getting, that are really working steadily,” Davis said. “There’s just very few parts for people my age and older, you know? So, it’s just bad odds, basically.”
The most glaring proof that Davis has a point? Last year’s “Bill and Ted Face the Music.”
The film reunited 50-something stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter to play the infamous slackers again. The characters’ wives, though, didn’t make the leap along with them.
Diane Franklin, best known for ’80s fare like “Better Off Dead,” wooed Bill in the first “Excellent” adventure as Princess Joanna. Kimberley LaBelle caught Ted’s eye in that very same film as Princess Elizabeth. “Face the Music” finds the two now-married couples in therapy, a funny sequences showing the boys have grown up, but only to a point.
Except the wives weren’t played by Franklin or LaBelle, who now goes by Kates according to her Wikipedia and IMDB pages.
The 50-something actresses were replaced by Jayma Mays (Joanna) and Erinn Hayes (Elizabeth). Mays is 42. Hayes is 45.
It’s unclear if the production attempted to hire Franklin and/or Kates, or if the stars rejected the opportunity. Franklin has been very open about her work on the franchise, highlighting it in her book, “Diane Franklin: The Excellent Adventures of the Last American, French-Exchange Babe of the ’80s.”
What actress would turn down such a high-profile project?
What’s apparent, though, is that Hollywood looked at two 50-something male stars and decided to pair them with women roughly a decade younger – for no reason beyond a quest for youth.
Argue all you want with Davis on other elements of her activism, the “Bill & Ted” sequel shows she’s on to something here.