Annette Bening

New Adaptation Promises to Turn Hollywood Ageism on Its Head

If you’re a film buff, you know the actress Annette Bening. When she was younger, she acted in several massive movies like American Beauty and The Grifters. Bening recently wrapped up filming for her newest movie, based on Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, a memoir written by actor Peter Turner, which focuses heavily on his relationship with fellow actress Gloria Grahame.


The film shares a name with the memoir, and stars Jamie Bell as Peter and Bening as Gloria. Bening revels in her role because Grahame was much older than Turner when the two started their romance. Bening, who was used to starring alongside older men such as Robert DeNiro and Harrison Ford, found starring alongside a younger man while portraying a romantic relationship with him was “refreshing,” she told the BBC.


Acting alongside Bening are other older actresses such as Dame Julie Walters, Frances Barber, and Vanessa Redgrave, only boosting Bening’s delight, both at being able to work with such big names in the film industry, and because one movie featured so many actresses over the age of 50, a rare occurrence in today’s films.


Bening and the film’s producer, Barbara Broccoli, have been playing with the idea of making this film for two decades. Bening loves the book, and enjoys the way the film mirrors the book’s composition, seamlessly shifting between the past and present.


Scene from Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool

Image Via Variety


Bening also hopes her role will inspire more stories like Grahame’s, whether they be real or fictional. Like Bening says, the world needs to hear “about people who are older and sophisticated – what the sex is about, what the reality is, especially for women getting older. Not just this cliche. The reality is a lot more subtle.”


But Bening isn’t just hoping for better storylines for women in front of the camera. She, like many women, know it’s a man’s world out there, and the women that do brilliant work in that world need to be applauded as well. “We had a woman cinematographer which was really cool, very infrequent. I don’t think it was always easy for her, although she was heroic and fantastic.”


Bening is excited for the future of the world however, truly believing things are changing. She’s confident that the lives of older women will be portrayed in future films. Whether it’s about violence they experienced or a non-conventional relationship, it seems Bening is right. Things are changing, and it might be a better time to be a woman in a man’s world as long as their stories are being told. 


Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool can be seen in theaters on November 16th in the UK and December 29th in the US.


Feature Image via The Hollywood Reporter