Maggie Gyllenhaal pointed out a major problem going around in Hollywood.
It’s clear that talent runs in the Gyllenhaal family. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a talented actress and director who has been nominated for an Academy Award on more than one occasion. Plus, she’s the daughter of filmmakers Stephen Gyllenhaal and Naomi Achs, and the older sister of actor Jake Gyllenhaal.
But, believe it or not, this talented actress was once told by a Hollywood producer that she was too old to star in a film alongside an actor in his fifties. Fortunately, Maggie Gyllenhaal didn’t let these comments get to her and, instead, focused on her career as an actor and producer.
Both Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal started their professional careers at a young age with some small roles in several of their father's films, including the cult movie Donnie Darko (2001). After that, Maggie appeared in several movies such as Adaptation, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (both 2002), and Mona Lisa Smile (2003).
Maggie Gyllenhaal has received plenty of critical acclaim for her performances in movies such as Secretary (2002) and Sherrybaby (2006). In 2008, she received international recognition for playing Rachel Dawes in DC’s film The Dark Knight.
In addition to appearing in numerous movies and TV series, Gyllenhaal has also worked in five stage productions, including her Broadway debut at a revival of The Real Thing back in 2000. And in 2021, Gyllenhaal made her directorial debut with the psychological film The Lost Daughter, for which she won the Best Screenplay Award at the 78th Venice International Film Festival.
According to IMDb, Maggie Gyllenhaal has more than 45 acting credits under her belt. Plus, she has been nominated for an Oscar on two different occasions. Despite her successful acting career, this talented actress was once told by a Hollywood producer that she was too old to play the love interest of a 50-year-old actor.
“There are things that are really disappointing about being an actress in Hollywood that surprise me all the time,” she said during an interview for TheWrap Magazine. “I’m 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55. It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made me feel angry, and then it made me laugh.”
Gyllenhall didn’t name the producer nor the older male star involved. But the actress and filmmaker admitted that, despite this experience, she believed that Hollywood was slowly becoming a better place for women to work.
It sounds insane that Maggie Gyllenhaal was told, at 37, that she wasn’t young enough to play the romantic interest of an actor who was over 50 years old. Unfortunately, this is not a one-time thing, but rather, a long-standing practice in Hollywood. There are countless movies where 20-something-year-old actresses have played the romantic interest of 40 or 50-year-old actors.
Plenty of well-known actresses have openly talked about this double standard. For example, Julianne Moore told InStyle (via People): “I mean, let’s not talk about this idea of, ‘Oh no! I’m going to be 40!’ You could be dead. So enjoy it. It’s a privilege to age.” Then, she added, “Even in scripts, they’ll refer to a character as ‘aging.’ Well… everyone is aging. In literature and in movies, when people try to stop the process, it always ends in disaster. I think it’s really important to be where you are.”
Jennifer Aniston has talked about the pressure actresses are subjected to as they age. "There is this pressure in Hollywood to be ageless," the Friends alum told Yahoo Beauty.
Jane Fonda has also shared her thoughts on this issue. "Ageism is alive and well," the Grace & Frankie star has admitted. "It is okay for men to get older, because men become more desirable by being powerful."
Astrid is a freelance writer based in Mexico. She’s written for publications such as El Heraldo de México, Career Karma, and The Daily DIY Life. Currently, she’s a features writer for The Things, specializing in TV, movies, and celebrity news.