There is an enduring stereotype in Hollywood that actors can play the lead in romantic movies well into their fifties or even beyond, while actresses find the roles quickly drying up as soon as they cross forty. Recently, acclaimed thespian Emma Thompson took the entertainment industry to task for this trend while speaking about her upcoming movie Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, in which Thompson’s character romances a younger man.
“It’s completely acceptable for George Clooney – who is delightful – to have someone who is 40 years younger than him or 30 years younger than him. If I have someone playing opposite me in a romantic way, they have to exhume someone, because I’m 61 now. Do you see what I mean? It’s completely and utterly unbalanced. If Leo Grande, the film that we make, speaks to people and people aren’t averse to seeing someone who’s 61 largely naked with a very much younger person, it’s going to be very interesting. We’ve got to keep being brave about that.”
While the roles for actresses have diversified in recent years with a greater influx of female directors looking to reflect their life experiences on the big screen, the age disparity between the leads of major movies continues to persist. For instance, In 2018’s Phantom Thread, Daniel Day-Lewis was the male lead, while the actress working opposite him was 26 years younger than him.
Similarly, in David Fincher’s Mank, 62-year-old Gary Oldman played the lead character of acclaimed Hollywood screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz. His wife Sara is played by 33-year-old Tuppence Middleton, even though in real life, the pair were the same age. Even the MCU is not exempt from this trend, with the onscreen age of Spider-Man’s guardian Aunt May decreasing steadily over each successive cinematic adaptation of the franchise.
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande will be directed by Sophie Hyde, and produced by Genesius Pictures. The movie will tell the story of Nancy Stokes, played by Thompson, a widow in her fifties who finds herself yearning for adventure, a human connection, and most importantly, good sex.
In order to gain all those things, Stokes employs the services of Leo Grande, a “sex therapist”, to treat her to a night of passion and bliss. Hyde, who is an Australian filmmaker, whose previous works include 2018’s Animals and 2013’s 52 Tuesdays, revealed that Good Luck To You, Leo Grande will aim to explore the world of sex and intimacy in a humorous manner.
“I’m thrilled to be working with the tremendously funny and heartbreakingly honest Emma Thompson to explore intimacy and desire, and to put on screen a relationship that feels unexpected and delightful. At a time when our need for each other is so vividly present, it will be a delight to create and show this connection between two people, which is funny, sexy, and moving.”
This news originates at Entertainment Weekly.