15 Roles Proving Men Don’t Need To Act Their Age In Hollywood, Even Though Women Do

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I don't know if you're up-to-date on what's been coming out of Russell Crowe‘s mouth lately, but he had some pretty interesting words to say about women over forty in Hollywood who think there are no parts for them. Even though that's a pretty widely-held opinion, he disagrees, saying the type of woman who thinks that roles dry up for her at a certain age is:

“…the woman who at 40, 45, 48, still wants to play the ingénue, and can't understand why she's not being cast as the 21-year-old.”

He then goes on to cite Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren as two actresses who ‘will give you 10,000 examples and arguments as to why that's bullshit', and added that he knows he ‘can't be the Gladiator forever'.

So basically it's all about acting your age, ladies, and if you can just do that, you should be just fine in the industry. And for the most part, he's right. As long as you can pull off playing a mom or a sympathetic aunt, you should be able to stay in the game long enough to get a look at the kind of once-in-a-lifetime role that puts you up for an Oscar. Whether you land it is another matter, but it's all about working within your range.

…unless, of course, you're a guy. Because that's the thing Russell doesn't factor into his comments, is that it's a set of rules that applies only to women. Contrary to his statement, history shows us that men in Hollywood think they can play the Gladiator forever, and most do, by continuing to get cast in young men's roles long past the point of believability.

If we're going to demand that ‘older' women in the industry portray strictly characters of their own age, then we should probably get that same memo to the menfolk too, right? Considering they're still out there kicking down doors and getting swooned over by much younger women well into their fifties, sixties, and even seventies.

Don't buy those stats? Well that's fine, because I've compiled some examples for you, just because I'm a pal like that. What follows is a list of men, their ages, and the roles they've been allowed to play, each paired with either a woman of the same age and the roles that she's been limited to. Or, in some cases, a young woman that they've played opposite romantically, or an actress whose played a similar role that's been treated differently.

We mix it up, is what I'm saying, but the gist of it is, this is a double standard — if there are rules to casting in Hollywood, why is only one gender playing by them?

1. Robert Downey Jr. and Diane Lane, 49


Both actors are forty nine, and yet he plays a superhero (Iron Man), while she plays the mom of a superhero (Man Of Steel) — in this case, the adoptive mom of Henry Cavill, who at thirty-one is just eighteen years younger than she is.

2. Vin Diesel and Julia Roberts, 47


Julia very obediently plays her age as a doctor and AIDS researcher in A Normal Heart, while fellow forty-seven year old Vin drives his race car out the back of airplanes in the endless Fast and Furious franchise.

3. Harrison Ford and Barbra Streisand, 72


Harrison Ford is so intent on not playing his age (seventy-two) that he got injured on the Star Wars set reprising his role as Han Solo, a setback that halted filming. Meanwhile, Barbra has the same number of years under her belt, but was relegated to driving across the country in The Guilt Trip with her adult son, Seth Rogen. Same age, same adventures!

4. Robert Redford, 78, and Reese Witherspoon, 38


Now, Robert and Reese aren't the same age, but I've paired them together because A. I couldn't find any well-known actresses still working at seventy-eight, and B. there are some of interesting parallels between them. Robert, 78, will be playing the role of Bill Bryson in A Walk In The Woods, the movie version of the book Bryson wrote about his time on the Appalachian Trail when he was forty-four. So he'll be thirty four years older than the man he's portraying. To give you a little context, that's the equivalent of twenty-six year old Cheryl Strayed in last year's Wild being played not by Reese Witherspoon, 38, but by Ellen Barkin, 60. WHICH WOULD NEVER HAPPEN.

5. Alec Baldwin and Sharon Stone, 56


Although Sharon was of the few lucky women to retain her sex symbol status into her forties, at fifty-six she's now relegated to playing the mother while Alec still has the dashing, unreachable husband character on lock at the same age.

6. Clint Eastwood, 84 and Susan Sarandon, 68


Here's another pair that isn't the same age, but bear with me, I'm about to explain myself. In 2012's Trouble With The Curve, Clint's daughter is played by Amy Adams, 40, who's forty-four years his junior. By contrast, in the 2014 movie TammySusan Sarandon, sixteen years younger than Clint at 68, played the grandmother of Melissa McCarthy, 44, who's just twenty-four years younger than Susan herself. And the person who got shoved in between? Alison Janney, 55, just being a sport and playing her age. And an eleven-year old mom in one fell swoop!

7. Liam Neeson, 62, and Geena Davis, 58


I don't even have some deeper meaning for this pairing; I just legit can't find a sixty-two year old working actress with a recognizable name. I had to go down four years to find Geena Davis, putting in her time as the mom in Stuart Little (like fifteen years ago) while sexagenarian Liam Neeson brandishes a gun and vows to rescue his daughter from terrorists in Taken 3. SO FOR THE THIRD TIME.

8. Russell Crowe and Courteney Cox, 50

Russell-Crowe-Courteney Cox

Oh hey buddy, welcome to the list! You didn't think you were gonna make it out of here without a pairing of your own, did you?? Russell has played opposite Jennifer Connelly in projects from A Beautiful Mind to last year's Noah. At forty-four, she's six years younger than him, which is a negligible age gap by Hollywood standards. Except when it's reversed, like in the case of Courteney Cox, 50, dating Josh Hopkins, 44, at which point the literal name of the show is Cougartown

Also YO YOU PLAYED ROBIN HOOD AT AGE FORTY-FIVE. So so much for that whole acting your age thing! And you were supposed to be opposite Sienna Miller, who would have been twenty-eight at the time of filming. If Cate Blanchett, who ultimately replaced Sienna, had been opposite someone with whom she had a seventeen-year age gap instead of Russell, she could have played Maid Marion opposite Mickey Rourke or Jeff Goldblum as Robin Hood.

9. Michael Douglas, 70, and Kim Cattrall, 58

Michael-Douglas-Kim-CattrallLet's examine the movie Last Vegas, in which Michael Douglas' love interest in a young lady named Bre Blair, who's currently thirty-four, making her thirty-six years younger than Michael. And before you say that part of the theme of the movie is that he's dating a much younger woman, if we apply that same logic to Kim Cattrall, a woman who frequently dates much younger men onscreen, in order to maintain the same age gap, she'd have to be dating twenty-two year old Josh Hutcherson in the next Sex and the City movie. (Which won't get made regardless, because nobody wants to eff those ladies anymore.)

10. Tom Cruise and Demi Moore, 52

Tom-Cruise-Demi-MooreDemi used to be a go-to gal for highly physical roles like G.I. Jane and Striptease, but who's long since been bumped down into a new category — ‘mom in very bad movies'. Meanwhile, Tom Cruise is still busting heads and butts in films like Jack Reacher and Edge Of Tomorrow. I'd say they're both in equivalent physical shape and equally attractive…so who's acting whose age?

11. Brad Pitt and Helen Hunt, 51

Brad-Pitt-Helen-HuntAt Brad's age, you can play an army man as much as you want, in movies like Fury and Inglorious Basterds, even when you're well above the maximum enlistment age of forty-two, but at Helen's, you should stick to being the non-threatening sex therapist like in The Sessions. All I can say is — if you're a woman over forty and you're helming a movie, you better be looking at an Oscar nomination for it. When you're a man you get to be a little more easy-breezy.

12. Colin Firth and Julianne Moore, 54

Colin-Firth-Julianna-MooreJust want to point out that a man Colin Firth's age is a secret agent in Kingsman: The Secret Serviceand a woman Julianne Moore's age is a wife and a mother with Alzheimer's in Still Alice. Funny how that works.

13. Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston, 45


This is another one of my favorites, because the difference is so glaring. Paul and Jennifer are both predominately comedic actors trying something new with Ant-Man and Cake, respectively. Nobody questions for a second Paul's ability to play a superhero later in his career, but if they were casting Ant-Woman, they'd have Jennifer Lawrence in there in a second, because no one would buy Jennifer Aniston as an action star…even though she and Paul have an identical lack of experience in the area. One of them has to operate within the constraints of casting, and the other one doesn't.

14. George Clooney and Meg Ryan, 53


George can play an astronaut in Gravity, a platoon commander in Monuments Men, and a presidential candidate in The Ides of March — jobs covering a wide swath of average ages. Meg can stop acting in the early-2000s (right around her fortieth birthday!) because no one buys her as a mom, even though the men she's played opposite, like Hugh Jackman, Tom Hanks, and yes! even Russell Crowe!, have all gone on to have successful careers outside the realm of rom-coms because of the more flexible constraints of the roles available to male actors over forty.

15. Will Smith and Ashley Judd, 46


For Ashley to have the same age gap with a love interest in a movie that Will Smith will have later this year in Focus with Margot Robbie, 24, she'd have to be opposite someone like Liam Hemsworth, who's also twenty-four. Instead, her most recent movie-interaction with an actor close to that age was when she played the mom to Shailene Woodley, 23, in Divergent.

So what do you think about that? I hope you've learned a thing or two! I'm looking at you, Russell.

(Photos: WENN.com)