Few actresses command the screen like Carrie-Anne Moss. Moss, who is best known for playing kickass warrior Trinity in The Matrix films, sat down with friend and fellow actor Justine Bateman to discuss Bateman’s new nonfiction book Face: One Square Foot of Skin. The book features several stories that deal with women, aging, and the relentless expectations and demands of Hollywood. Moss and Bateman discussed the book at New York’s 92nd Street Y, where they swapped horror stories about being over 40 in the industry.
Moss shared a chilling anecdote about what happened when she turned 40 (she is currently 53). “I had heard that at 40 everything changed, … I didn’t believe in that because I don’t believe in just jumping on a thought system that I don’t really align with. But literally the day after my 40th birthday, I was reading a script that had come to me and I was talking to my manager about it. She was like, ‘Oh, no, no, no, it’s not that role [you’re reading for], it’s the grandmother. I may be exaggerating a bit, but it happened overnight. I went from being a girl to the mother to beyond the mother.”
Oof magoof, that is rough. Hollywood has long had a problem with women of a certain age, but this story exemplifies the unrealistic expectations the industry places on women. Men, of course, are exempt from such concerns thanks to the pervasive influence of the patriarchy. It also doesn’t help that women are scrutinized far more for their looks than male actors are. And cinema is especially unforgiving, as no amount of make-up or special effects can compensate for seeing one’s face on a 40 foot screen.
“You don’t feel like you’ve aged much and suddenly you’re seeing yourself onscreen,” Moss said, describing the experience as “kind of brutal.” She continued, “I would look at these French and European actresses and they just had something about them that felt so confident in their own skin. I couldn’t wait to be that. I strive for that. It’s not easy being in this business. There’s a lot of external pressure.”
Moss has since worked mostly in television, starring as cutthroat lawyer Jeri Hogarth in Jessica Jones and appearing on CBS All Access’s Tell Me a Story. She will also be reprising her role as Trinity in the upcoming The Matrix 4. In an interview with Empire Magazine, Moss said, “I never thought that it would happen. It was never on my radar at all,” adding that she was won over by the script. “When it was brought to me in the way that it was brought to me, with incredible depth and all of the integrity and artistry that you could imagine, I was like, ‘This is a gift.’ It was just very exciting.”
We’re excited to see Moss return to kick some ass in The Matrix 4 at any age, including at 53. Give us more older women in action films, already. If Keanu Reeves can still be John Wick into his 50s, then there’s plenty of room Carrie-Anne Moss too.
(via The Hollywood Reporter, featured image: Marion Curtis/Netflix)
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