Naomi Watts has revealed she was once told her career would be “over” at age 40, when she would supposedly “become unf***able”.
At the time, Watts had recently starred in David Lynch’s acclaimed psychological drama Mulholland Drive, and was 33 years old.
Recalling the comment to Entertainment Weekly, Watts said: “I was told, ‘You better get a lot done because it’s all over at 40 when you become unf***able.’ And I’m like, ‘What? What does that mean exactly?’
“Then you think about it, and you go, ‘Oh, right. When you are no longer reproductive, when those organs are no longer functioning, you are not sexy, so, therefore, you are not hirable.’ That just made me so mad.”
Watts, 54, was asked what changes the film industry could make to provide better oppurtunities for middle-aged and older female actors.
“It’s such an awkward conversation because, from day one, we begin our aging process,” she said. “It’s something we just all have to get comfortable with and women are asked to do it more than men.
“We don’t talk about a man aging hardly ever,” Watts continued. “We don’t talk about his gray hair. In fact, if we do, it’s like, ‘Oh, he gets more handsome, more desirable, more powerful.’ And why is he powerful? Because he’s accumulated experiences. Well, it should be the same for women.
“We’ve got important and powerful experiences as well at this age that we should feel proud of.”
Watt’s comments echo those made by fellow actor Charlize Theron, who recently recalled an unnamed director who wanted her to dress more “f***able”.
The Mad Max: Fury Road star opened up about “having absolutely no control” over her choice of clothes in an interview published last month.
“Having some guy make you have a fitting almost in front of them – stuff like that, it’s really belittling,” she said. “When I started, there was no conversation around it. It was like, ‘This is what you’re wearing.’”
The actor went on to address a specific experience she had with an unnamed male director.
“I remember one movie in particular, this male director who just kept bringing me in, fitting after fitting after fitting after… and it was just so obvious that it was to do with my sexuality and how f***able they could make me in the movie,” she said. “And when I started out, that was just kind of the norm.”