Selma Blair may have been joking about Cameron Diaz's retirement... but guess who wasn't laughing?
Cruel Intentions star shouldn't have made light of her friend's choice not to work, writes Sarah Caden
Apparently, at the age of only 45, Cameron Diaz is retiring from acting. She's happy in her private life and she, kind of, couldn't be bothered. Oh, no, sorry, that was just a joke. Not a particularly funny, or even kind of funny, joke, but, it would seem, a joke all the same.
Last week, Diaz's friend and fellow actress, Selma Blair, was interviewed by a newspaper. Blair was asked if she and Diaz would ever consider a sequel to their 2002 film The Sweetest Thing.
"I had lunch with Cameron the other day," Blair answered. "We were reminiscing about the film. I would've liked to do a sequel, but Cameron's retired from acting. She's like, 'I'm done'."
"I mean," Blair went on, "she doesn't need to make any more films. She has a pretty great life. I don't know what it would take to bring her back. She's happy."
You have to wonder at what point Blair realised that, maybe, she shouldn't have said this. At best, you'd think it would be up to Diaz herself to announce that she'd had it with acting.
At worst, even if Diaz had confided this to Blair in private, she might not want to publicly write herself off just yet.
Maybe it's the "I'm done" that causes one to wince. There's something about that throwaway signing-off that smacks of letting oneself go and any suggestion of that makes any woman wince.
Factor in that Diaz is 45 and it sounds even worse. And, given that Blair is the same age, you'd think she'd be sensitive to that.
The fact is that, if 29-year-old Emma Stone said that her 27-year-old friend Jennifer Lawrence was "done" with acting, we'd regard it rather differently than when the actress in question is 45.
The reaction to Lawrence's supposed retirement would be that she'd clearly collected enough cash, cured herself of the acting bug and felt ready to try another career. She, after all, has youth on her side.
In the case of Cameron Diaz, though, "done" sounded more like "finished", in the fed-up, washed-up sense. Social media went mad in the wake of Blair's surprise announcement and a lot of it went along the lines of sympathising with Diaz that her best days were behind her.
To back up Blair's comments, a story from a few months ago reared its head, again citing just how wonderfully happy Diaz was, away from the spotlight and happily married.
Diaz got married in 2015 to musician Benji Madden, whom she met a year earlier, which was also the last year she starred in a film.
At the end of last year, an American magazine published a story, claiming that Cameron Diaz had no great drive to take any of the roles with which she was "inundated".
"Cameron hasn't wanted to work," a source was quoted. "She is enjoying being at home and being a housewife. She would love more than anything to be a mom. At this point, they would be very happy with the miracle of one child."
When you read this, you see how Selma Blair, whether she had her facts straight or not, simply shouldn't have stumbled into suggestions of Cameron Diaz's retirement.
Because Selma Blair, like Cameron Diaz, knows that, after a certain age, in their business, a woman becomes regarded as a sad case far too easily. "Poor" Jennifer Aniston is a case in point. So pitied is Jennifer Aniston for the fact that she doesn't have any children and "lost" Brad Pitt to Angelina Jolie, that she's now having to smile rigidly through her second divorce to prove that she's fine, really.
No one - and certainly not Cameron Diaz - wants to be the new "poor Jennifer". So you don't suggest that she's finished and you don't cast her as turning her back on Hollywood to dote on her husband and you certainly don't give fuel to "she'd love a baby" rumours. Or, worse, any suggestion that she might be going through the menopause (God forbid).
One even writes the "m" word fearing that such a suggestion might be libellous.
But we need not worry about Diaz being down and out, after all, because a mere 24 hours after writing her off, Selma Blair went on Twitter to put things straight.
"Guys, please," Blair wrote. "I was making a joke in an interview. Cameron Diaz is not retiring from anything. And for more breaking news: I am now retiring from being Cameron Diaz's spokesperson."
It was a joke. True, there was no real evidence of that in what she said originally, or any trace of it being in any way witty, or funny, but Blair says it was a joke. We can't dispute it if that's what the woman says. And we can't speculate as to when she realised that her joke had backfired.
Was it when she delivered it with no perceivable punchline? Or when she forgot to say, "Boom. Boom" at the end? Or when she got a phone call from Cameron Diaz, or one of her people, saying that her joke delivery was a bit off and she should probably look at clarifying that it was, in fact, a really funny joke.
Next time, perhaps, Selma Blair might stick to making such jokes about her own career as a woman of 45 in Hollywood.
Or, maybe, she wouldn't find that funny at all.