Hollywood has been an increasingly demanding space for actors who are waiting in mile-long queues for that one role that’s going to establish them as stars. For Michelle Yeoh, the opportunity landed during her Hong Kong films era, and alongside Jackie Chan, the actress proved herself a formidable force when it came to action movies. But time and age are factors that are inevitably pushed to the side in the industry’s constant demand for diverse roles and producing blockbusters.
Marvel Actor Michelle Yeoh Calls Out Hollywood’s Ageism
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings expanded the timeless actress’s resume to incorporate the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the list of the endless accomplishments of Michelle Yeoh. However, the Malaysian actress did break expectations and exceed limitations in the sci-fi adventure film, Everything Everywhere All At Once.
But while Yeoh’s path up to this exact moment might portray her as a Bond girl turned Marvel star, the industry and its behind-the-scenes politics aren’t all that glamorous when scrutinized at a close glance. During an actors’ roundtable talk with The Hollywood Reporter, she claimed:
“[Everything Everywhere All At Once] was such a gratifying experience. I’ve waited a long time to receive a script like that. Because, as you get older, the box gets smaller and smaller. And especially for [Asian female actors], it’s never been an easy ride to start off with.
I honestly look at [younger actresses] with such envy because [they] get an opportunity to try all the different roles, but we only get that opportunity maybe once in a long, long time. Crouching Tiger was 22 years ago. With Crazy Rich Asians, suddenly, I am the mean mom. Then I was the auntie. Then when I receive a script and they say, “Please play the grandmother,” I was like, “Please don’t put me in that box.””
The wildly problematic truth about ageism and its adverse aftermath in Hollywood has been prevalent in the industry for a very long time. And Michelle Yeoh is neither the first nor is she going to be the last actress to speak out against the practice.
Hollywood Ageism Decried Throughout the Decades
The term “Hollywood ageism” is a familiar one. Not because it has been thrown around in volatile outcries by famous actresses over the years, but due to its relevance across fields of varying professions and within society in general. The crippling standards that women have been held up to throughout history have subjected them to the male gaze that at one point declared that an unmarried woman beyond the age of 20 is a shame to her family, while the more modern society looks at women who choose to be alone as an incomplete being without a “better half” to complete her.
Actress Geena Davis (Thelma and Louise) once famously claimed, “A certain male actor that was making a movie said that I was too old to be his romantic interest, and I was 20 years younger than him.” Sadly enough, her statement holds water since actresses like Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Aniston, Julianne Moore, Irina Shayk, and Helen Mirren, too have spoken out against age discrimination proving how the Hollywood practice has continued to increasingly prevail and thrive in contemporary times.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter