Apparently, Batman is getting a little older, a little wiser, and maybe a little sexier? Josh Brolin is currently leading the running to play the next Batman, and, at 46, he's the oldest contender. I'm not complaining at all over here — Brolin is definitely a well-season actor and a definite babe of a man. Sure, he's not exactly a silver fox, but he's no young buck Christian Bale either.
But with Brolin being a potential new caped crusader, we have to wonder: What if the role was reversed and Catwoman was getting an older face? Would Hollywood be as receptive to a more mature, say, Barbra Streisand, slipping on the latex bodysuit and prowling around in the name of justice? (Hey, we have Brolins on the mind.) In an ideal world, sure. But the ageism against older Hollywood actresses is rampant.
In the past few years, there has been a proliferation of older women in starring roles, which is fantastic. Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, who are both over 40, have been tearing it up at the box office this summer in their buddy cop comedy, The Heat. But there's a particular scene where Bullock is trying to cause a distraction to a drug dealer by baring her body, to which he replies: "You're the first woman over 40 to give me a boner." Totally unnecessary. While it's great that older women are still getting leading roles in big budget films, the older women in Hollywood get, the less sexy to audiences they become.
Earlier this year, Vulture did a great series of graphs showing the age of leading men and the age of their love interests. Harrison Ford was 55 in Six Days, Seven Nights, and his romantic opposite, Anne Heche, was a whopping 26 years younger than him. We all know that the former Indiana Jones could woo just about anyone, but that kind of an age gap is pretty impossible to believe.
So would an older woman in the role of Catwoman be well-received at all? Unfortunately, probably not. Not only because a lot of Catwoman's persona is complicit with her sexiness (that's another issue entirely), but because the older actresses in Hollywood get, the less sexy they're seen as. No one will blink an eye at an older Batman, because men in Hollywood are more revered the older they get. Just once I'd like to see a leading woman in a big budget Hollywood film who's over 40 and regarded as sexy, strong, and confident, with no mention of her age. Not even one.