In an industry where ego takes a shellacking, mine is as shiny as they come;  so it is with no false humility that I say that I'm the gal you hire when the picture calls for a sassy, sharp, sexy female with a throwback attitude. There, I said it.

See, I was weaned on the classic movies where wit & wiles were the qualities that drove the story & provided the entertainment.  A performer had to bring more to the table than a fresh face; they had to speak from a frame of reference.  I saw females not afraid of displaying their experience, and showing wisdom & femininity as not mutually exclusive.  Those are the roles that speak to me, and where I am in my element.  Old-school stars like Barbara Stanwyck; Kathryn Hepburn; Susan Hayward; Ida Lupino (also a prolific director); and Gloria Grahame: all examples of tough-talking, brainy females that were also flirtatious and inviting--a dazzling combination that is hard to coax out of teenage actresses that, in a predatory business, may not even be worldly enough yet, say, to walk that delicate balance between maintaining one's virtue and sparing a man's ego.

Strong images are re-emerging in force, though, after a post-war drought in which women more often were depicted as damsels in distress rather than self-possessed women; or as marginalized characters, ie. the supportive wife or the evil temptress (acceptable archetypes for a sexist society--they did, after all, need to coax Rosie the Riveter back into the kitchen.)  In the past few years, on TV alone--both cable & network--the list of grown women with their own shows (or stealing the show) is encouraging: Mary Louise Parker, Tina Fey, Jane Lynch, Julianna Margulies, Laura Linney, Edie Falco, Glenn Close, Kyra Sedgwick, Kate Walsh, Holly Hunter, and more.

It is also inspirational (and about time) to see women over 40 playing more women of strength in Hollywood films: Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Patricia Clarkson, Regina Taylor,Helen Mirren, Tilda Swinton, Annette Bening, Angela Bassett, Diane Lane, Julianne Moore, Marcia Gay Harden, Marisa Tomei, among others.  These are women I identify with, and who play character types I am looking to play--and can play, with conviction: women that prove that wit & intelligence--and experience-- enhances sex appeal.

AuthorDeirdre Brennan