In today’s shocking news, Hollywood is still making some dicey casting choices — and by dicey, I mean offensive to women past the age of 25. On Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, Charlize Theron revealed that she was offered the role of Gal Gadot’s mother in Wonder Woman. Theron, who is only nine years older than Gadot, respectfully declined.
Before Theron’s announcement last night, there had been rumors that she had been offered the role of Wonder Woman and turned it down. The actress revealed the actual casting offer while addressing those rumors, and called it “a great example of how Hollywood slaps you in the face once you start aging.” Apparently, Theron herself had made the assumption she was up for the titular role when the Wonder Woman project was mentioned to her. “Somebody had said to me, ‘Oh, there’s action on this thing, Wonder Woman, we just want to make you aware of it,’ the 43-year-old shared. “And I was like, ‘I’m just not familiar with it, what does Wonder Woman do?’ And this person said, ‘No, it’s for Wonder Woman’s mom.’ “
This is far from the first time Hollywood has engaged in age-inappropriate casting — and interestingly enough, their choices always skew toward casting the youngest woman possible, despite the dozens of qualified older actresses available. Earlier this year, Nicole Kidman addressed criticism over her Aquaman casting, in which she plays Jason Momoa’s mother despite a 12-year age gap. Luckily, Kidman has a good sense of humor about it. “In the context of the superhero world, it all evens out,” she quipped to Variety. “Atlanna doesn’t really age.”
In all fairness, most scenes with Wonder Woman’s mother take place when Gadot’s character, Diana, is a young child: and given that Theron is mother to a 7-year-old, we certainly don’t object to her playing a maternal role. Further, Queen Hippolyta is a fierce warrior with strongly held ideals, and we have no doubt Theron would have killed in the role. It’s just the idea of Theron playing Gadot’s mother in those latter scenes, where Gadot is pictured as her fully-grown, 34-year-old self, that’s harder to stomach.
There shouldn’t be a “cut-off age” after which actresses are only cast as mothers, and we shouldn’t keep casting 40-year-olds as female characters in their 60s. It sets an unrealistic standard and instills fear and shame over visibly aging in women worldwide — so while we don’t begrudge Theron any roles she wants to take, we still don’t understand why she wasn’t offered the role of Wonder Woman instead.