'Zoolander 2' Star Billy Zane Gets Real About Agism In Film: "It's Rampant In Hollywood"
The plot of 2001's Zoolander surrounds a protagonist who is old, worn-out, and on the brink of retirement. Fast forward 15 years to 2016's Zoolander 2 and Derek Zoolander — three time Male Model of the Year — is, well, a lot older. In the second film he's still facing scrutiny from the fashion world for his obsolete cell phone, laughable fashion sense, and generally outdated, archaic sensibilities. Billy Zane, who has a memorable cameo in both films, "despises agism," and believes the sequel intentionally pokes fun at these older models: "It addresses agism quite well and quite hilariously," he says.
"In front of the camera, [filmmaker Jean-Luc] Godard says, 'Cinema is about beautiful women doing beautiful things, at least it should be.' And I'd be very happy watching that all day long," Zane jokes. "In the realm of HD, there are probably some faces that you don't want to see in certain contexts, but I do love seeing wisdom. There's great beauty in age. I love the landscape of the face, one that shows where it's been."
One of the gags featured in the Zoolander 2 trailer shows Hansel and Zoolander being recruited for a fashion show, only to wind up being displayed in coffin-shaped boxes, adorned in labels that read "old," and "lame." But even off the runway and off the screen, Zane argues that agism is everywhere, especially behind the camera.
"It's rampant in Hollywood," he says. "I always make a point of hiring multi-Oscar winners [behind the camera] who have been put to pasture for some reason, and put them with the young, rock star crew who would love nothing more than to apprentice under these masters because they don't get a chance to. You have an incredible brain trust on set... you want both influences."
Sort of like (spoiler alert!) Anna Wintour and Ariana Grande having a cameo in the same film.
Zoolander 2 is in theaters now.