Glenn Close has completely wiped the floor with the competition during this year’s awards season, winning the top gongs at the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Critics’ Choice Awards and several more.
And now, as the 71-year-old actress is nominated for her seventh Oscar for her moving role in movie The Wife, it’s prompted calls from over-60s for more roles to be created for older actors and actresses – to truly represent such a huge demographic.
Close plays Joan Archer in The Wife, a dedicated woman who begins questioning her life choices after her husband is told he is set to receive the Nobel prize in Literature – despite her ghost-writing most of his books. She had previously given up her writing career herself, to live in her husband’s shadow.
Now, in a poll carried out by Starts at 60, readers have called for more roles to be created for older stars so they can continue their incredible legacies. They were asked: “As more and more films continue to be made – and new, younger stars snap up the lead roles – do you think there needs to be more older stars taking the top roles in movies to represent such a huge demographic?”
A staggering 97 per cent of people voted yes, stating that they “want to see more people they can relate to on screen,” while just 3 per cent voted no, stating “it’s time to give younger actors and actresses a go”.
While one reader said she’s all for more roles for veteran stars, she doesn’t believe there are enough good movies made anymore, while another claimed: “The problem is a lot of the young actors/actresses can’t act as well as the seasoned ones.”
Elsewhere, one reader insisted that while there are huge numbers of talented older stars, there is a distinct lack of roles being written for them, adding: “The problem is not casting but that the roles aren’t written or if they are production companies don’t want to produce a movie with older female actors.”
Another agreed, saying: “If more scripts and/or story lines are centred around older characters then older actors are needed to fill those roles. If the roles are there; older actors will naturally get those parts. It is all about writers creating the older characters.”
However, several others said they’re all for a “balance” of both old and young stars, with one reader commenting: “Doesn’t matter what the age, as long as there are good roles for women. I think we have had enough ‘feel good’ movies, and would like more dramatic roles.”
Another added: “What the role needs..should be what the role gets…I think…just up to the writers I guess.”
It comes after Aussie actress Benita Collings, 79, who enjoyed a long-running stint as the main presenter of hit TV show Play School, told Starts at 60 there needs to be more opportunities for older actors and actresses to ensure every demographic tunes in to the shows the whole family continue to love – but she’s hopeful it’s starting to happen.
“I know our union over the last few years has been very prominent in saying to the writers ‘please, write for women and write for older women’. They have put it out there. I think it is slowly changing,” she said.
Indeed, some of the world’s biggest stars from Meryl Streep and Judi Dench, to Morgan Freeman and Tom Hanks continue to star in new and emerging movies, taking lead roles and winning top awards for their performances – but as more and more films are made every year, there continue to be calls for even more spots for the older demographic.
Taking a slightly different view on the issue, Aussie Blue Heelers star John Wood previously told Starts at 60 that there’s more respect for older actors in England than there is in Australia – and called for the rest of the world to follow Britain’s lead in creating roles for older stars.
“You look at the number of movies that have come out of the UK in the last 10 years like ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ with Maggie Smith and Judi Dench, they are treated by their peers with a high level of respect and regard,” he said. “But in Australia you get over 60 and you disappear, you vanish.”