Sexy roles for all in Hollywood

BAFTA-nominated actor Lesley Manville and star of Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film “Phantom Thread” shared her optimism about roles for women over 50 in Hollywood.

Manville joined Salon’s Alli Joseph on “Salon Talks” to discuss her role as Cyril in the new fashion-passion love story and opened up about finding representative roles.

Manville’s career started in the 1970s on various television series before appearing on London’s most-famous stages, including the Royal Court, Royal Shakespeare Company and the Old Vic. In recent years Manville has found success starring in some of Hollywood’s biggest movies such as “Maleficent” and more recently “Phantom Thread.” Throughout her long career she’s certainly seen how roles for women of a certain age have evolved. “I mean like 20 years ago, it felt like there was this feeling that, once a woman's over 50, well that's it, she plays older mothers, grandmothers, certainly not somebody who's interesting, funny, certainly not sexy. All of that is changing,” Manville told Salon.

From Manville’s perspective, it wasn’t Hollywood’s desire to make more representative roles for older women that led to this change, but instead a combination of factors. She attributes some of it to actors like Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren and Viola Davis seeking non-stereotypical roles and refusing to be pigeonholed because of their age. “They're still playing women who are interested in sex and sexually active,” she said. “Of course, that is representative of real women. That's what real women want.”

Older women are interesting, funny and sexual too and audiences want to see that reflected more in the characters they see on the big screen. “No woman over 60 wants to think that her sex life and her sexuality is dead,” Manville said.

Check out the clip above to hear more about Manville’s comments on representation in Hollywood and check out Salon TV’s full episode with “Lesley Manville” to learn more about her role in “Phantom Thread,” where she plays opposite of Daniel Day-Lewis, in reportedly his final film.

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