Belfast Telegraph

Streep backs Crowe's age comments

Meryl Streep has supported Russell Crowe's view that ageing actresses should not expect to be given roles that are not suited to their age.

Gladiator star Russell caused a stir when he said in an interview that older women should accept they were not right for a role as an "ingenue", in the same way that male stars had to take roles which were appropriate for their age.

Speaking at the launch of her new film Into The Woods, in which she plays a wizened grey-haired witch, Meryl backed his sentiments.

"I agree with him. It's good to live in the place where you are," she said.

Russell said recently that actresses who were unhappy about the roles available were likely to be "the woman who at 40, 45, 48, still wants to play the ingenue and can't understand why she's not being cast as the 21-year-old".

He cited Meryl and Dame Helen Mirren as stars who proved there were suitable roles geared to their stage of life.

She pointed out that 50-year-old Russell had actually been making a point about himself.

Meryl said: "The journalist asks him, 'Why don't you do another Gladiator? Everyone would love that'.

"He said, 'I'm too old, I can't be the Gladiator any more, I'm playing parts that are appropriate to my age'.

"The conversation went onto actresses, so that was proving a point that he was talking about himself, as most actors do."

She said she had actually been offered roles as witches when she entered her 40s but turned them down because they did not feel suitable at the time.

But the 65-year-old said she was happy to accept this time around.

"Why this witch? Well I thought: age appropriate," she said at a press conference in London today ahead of the UK premiere of Stephen Sondheim musical Into The Woods.

Meryl added: "I felt it was time, and it was not time at 40. Also, I just had a political sort of reaction against the concept of witches, of old women being demonised into age being this horrifying scary thing.

"I just didn't like that. I didn't like it when I was a little girl and I don't like it now.

"This is a complex film. Every single person is at war with themselves, except Rapunzel, who's perfect.

"But everybody wants a good thing for bad reasons, whatever they are. They're after something and they're willing to compromise everything to get it."

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