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When a 35-year-old actress is the mother of a 25-year-old: How Hollywood pushes out older women | Culture

“I Iike Emmy Rossum, but why cast a 35-year-old woman to play the mother of a 25-year-old? Why not cast an older actress?” That’s just one of the messages that have been circulating on social media after it was revealed that Rossum would play the mother of Tom Holland, who is just 10 years her junior, in the new Apple TV+ show The Crowded Room. Although Carina Adly Mackenzie, the screenwriter and producer of the show, explained that Rossum’s character would mostly appear in flashbacks, when Holland’s character is a child, the news has reopened the debate about Hollywood’s sexist typecasting of older women. In 2015, a study in Time magazine revealed that while actors reach the peak of their career at age 46, actresses reach this point at age 30.

Sociocultural anthropologist Úrsula Borrega, who is a specialist in gender equality policies, points out that actresses are cast as mothers, despite the impossible age differences, but have fewer career opportunities once they are mothers themselves in real life. “Except for figures with a certain status, such as Helen Mirren or Glenn Close, many actresses are not allowed to be seen aging in movies. The beauty canon that has been imposed on us means that we always have to be beautiful, slim and young. It’s a bane on women’s lives and it’s perfectly reflected in cinema,” she tells EL PAÍS.

This same sexist vision also applies when it comes to onscreen couples. For example, Tom Cruise has only ever had one romantic interest over the age of 35: Cameron Diaz in Knight and Day, who was 38 when the film was released, while Cruise was 48. The Hollywood star is now 59 years old and is set to appear later this year in Top Gun: Maverick. But his romantic interest from the 1986 original movie, Kelly McGillis, 64, said no one contacted her about reprising the role. “Men even gain something with age, they have more authority and confidence. Women, however, are only left with scary roles, such as the grandmother, witches or mothers-in-law,” says Borrego, who adds that the sexual life of older women is also largely taboo in the film industry.

In the selection below, we have looked at how this sexist vision persists in Hollywood, be it with actresses who go from love interests to mothers (sometimes with the very same actor playing the son/boyfriend), to women who are cast as the attractive older lady when they are just a few years older than their male counterparts.

Tom Hanks and Sally Field in the 1988 comedy 'Punch Line'
Tom Hanks and Sally Field in the 1988 comedy ‘Punch Line’IFA Film (United Archives / Cordon Press)

Sally Field and Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump: age difference of 10 years

Sally Field was Tom Hanks’s love interest in Punchline in 1989, but just five years later, she was cast as his mother in Forrest Gump. At the time, she was 47 years old, just 10 years older than Hank. As with the case of Emmy Rossum and Tom Holland, the decision was justified on the basis that she mostly appeared in scenes in which Hanks’s character was still a child. When both actors do appear on screen together, Field is suitably aged to look like an older woman.

Anne Bancroft and Katherine Ross in The Graduate: age difference of eight years

In the 1967 movie The Graduate, Dustin Hoffman plays a character who is seduced by an older woman played by actress Anne Bancroft. But Bancroft is only six years older than Hoffman. What’s more, actress Katherine Ross was cast to play Bancroft’s daughter, even though she was only eight years her junior.

Angelina Jolie and Colin Farrell in 'Alexander.'
Angelina Jolie and Colin Farrell in ‘Alexander.’

Angelina Jolie and Colin Farrell in Alexander: age difference of one year

One of the most controversial casting decisions of 21st-century cinema was made by director Oliver Stone, who chose a 29-year-old Angelina Jolie to play the mother of Colin Farrell, then 28, in the movie Alexander. “The common belief that one dog year is equal to seven human years could just as easily be applied to female actors as Alsatians. It must be down to the Californian water, but something seems to happen to the women in LA so that they speed through the years at a far swifter rate than that of their male contemporaries,” journalist Hadley Freeman wrote in The Guardian about what she called a “bizarre casting decision.”

Glenn Close and Mel Gibson in Hamlet: age difference of nine years

In the 1990 movie Hamlet, Mel Gibson plays the starring role, while Glenn Close, just nine years his senior, is cast as his mother, Gertrude. Hamlet’s potential wife, Ophelia, meanwhile, is played by Helena Bonham Carter, who is 10 years younger than Gibson.

The Australian actor was embroiled in a similar controversy with his film The Passion of the Christ, which stars Maia Morgenstern as the Virgin Mary, even though she is just six years older than Jim Caviezel, who was cast as Jesus. Incidentally, Gibson’s current partner, Rosalind Ross, is 34 years younger than him.

Christine Baranski, Judy Craymer, Cher, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Alexa Davies, Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried and Lily James at the premiere of 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again'
Christine Baranski, Judy Craymer, Cher, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Alexa Davies, Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried and Lily James at the premiere of ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’

Cher and Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again: age difference of four years

In Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, singer and actress Cher is cast as the mother of Meryl Streep, who is just four years younger than her. Cher, 79, however, has been able to overcome the typecasting of older women. In the 1987 film Moonstruck, for example, she played the love interest of Nicolas Cage, who is 17 years her junior.

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The Hat Worn By Napoleon Bonaparte Sold For $2.1 Million At The Auction

A faded felt bicorne hat worn by Napoleon Bonaparte sold for $2.1 million at an auction on of the French emperor’s belongings.

Yes, that’s $2.1 million!!

The signature broad, black hat, one of a handful still in existence that Napoleon wore when he ruled 19th-century France and waged war in Europe, was initially valued at 600,000 to 800,000 euros ($650,000-870,000). It was the centerpiece of Sunday’s auction collected by a French industrialist who died last year.

The Hat Worn By Napoleon Bonaparte Sold For $2.1 Million At The Auction

But the bidding quickly jumped higher and higher until Jean Pierre Osenat, president of the Osenat auction house, designated the winner.

‘’We are at 1.5 million (Euros) for Napoleon’s hat … for this major symbol of the Napoleonic epoch,” he said, as applause rang out in the auction hall. The buyer, whose identity was not released, must pay 28.8% in commissions according to Osenat, bringing the overall cost to 1.9 million euros ($2.1 million).

While other officers customarily wore their bicorne hats with the wings facing front to back, Napoleon wore his with the ends pointing toward his shoulders. The style, known as “en bataille,” or in battle, made it easier for his troops to spot their leader in combat.

The hat on sale was first recovered by Col. Pierre Baillon, a quartermaster under Napoleon, according to the auctioneers. The hat then passed through many hands before industrialist Jean-Louis Noisiez acquired it.

The entrepreneur spent more than a half-century assembling his collection of Napoleonic memorabilia, firearms, swords and coins before his death in 2022.

The sale came days before the release of Ridley Scott’s film Napoleon with Joaquin Phoenix, which is rekindling interest in the controversial French ruler.

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The Call for AI Regulation in Creative Industries

THE VOICE OF EU | Widespread concerns have surged among artists and creatives in various domains – country singers, authors, television showrunners, and musicians – voicing apprehension about the disruptive impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on their professions.

These worries have prompted an urgent plea to the U.S. government for regulatory action to protect their livelihoods from the encroaching threat posed by AI technology.

The Artists’ Plea

A notable rise in appeals to regulate AI has emerged, drawing attention to the potential risks AI poses to creative industries.

Thousands of letters, including those from renowned personalities like Justine Bateman and Lilla Zuckerman, underscore the peril AI models represent to the traditional structure of entertainment businesses.

The alarm extends to the music industry, expressed by acclaimed songwriter Marc Beeson, highlighting AI’s potential to both enhance and jeopardize an essential facet of American artistry.

The Call for AI Regulation in Creative Industries

Copyright Infringement Concerns

The primary contention arises from the unsanctioned use of copyrighted human works as fodder to train AI systems. The concerns about AI ingesting content from the internet without permission or compensation have sparked significant distress among artists and their representative entities.

While copyright laws explicitly protect works of human authorship, the influx of AI-generated content questions the boundaries of human contribution and authorship in an AI-influenced creative process.

The Fair Use Debate

Leading technology entities like Google, Microsoft, and Meta Platforms argue that their utilization of copyrighted materials in AI training aligns with the “fair use” doctrine—a limited use of copyrighted material for transformative purposes.

They claim that AI training isn’t aimed at reproducing individual works but rather discerning patterns across a vast corpus of content, citing precedents like Google’s legal victories in the digitization of books.

The Conflict and Seeking Resolution

Despite court rulings favoring tech companies in interpreting copyright laws regarding AI, voices like Heidi Bond, a former law professor and author, critique this comparison, emphasizing that AI developers often obtain content through unauthorized means.

Shira Perlmutter, the U.S. Register of Copyrights, acknowledges the Copyright Office’s pivotal role in navigating this complex landscape and determining the legitimacy of the fair use defense in the AI context.

The Road Ahead

The outpouring of concern from creative professionals and industry stakeholders emphasizes the urgency for regulatory frameworks to safeguard creative works while acknowledging the evolving role of AI in content creation.

The Copyright Office’s meticulous review of over 9,700 public comments seeks to strike a balance between innovation and the protection of creative rights in an AI-driven era. As the discussion continues, the convergence of legal precedents and ethical considerations remains a focal point for shaping the future landscape of AI in creative industries.

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Germany’s Real Estate Market Is Heading Towards Stagnation and Potential Reversal

By Cindy Porter

In a landscape marked by evolving economic forces, Germany’s real estate sector has recently grappled with formidable challenges. Over the past year, surging interest rates, cautious lending practices, and soaring inflation have prompted prospective buyers to reconsider homeownership, contributing to a resurgence of interest in the rental market. This shift has led some to speculate that the era of booming real estate growth might be waning.

However, amid these headwinds, whispers of a potential reversal of fortunes have started to circulate. Despite another interest rate hike by the European Central Bank (ECB), German property prices demonstrated unexpected resilience in the second quarter of 2023, stagnating rather than declining.

Notably, sales prices for flats exhibited only a marginal decline of 0.3% from April to June, as per the Greix real estate price index published by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW). In contrast, prices for detached and semi-detached homes surged by 2.3% and 1.8%, respectively.

“The German real estate market showed itself to be quite robust in the second quarter,” remarked IfW President Moritz Schularick. He highlighted the positive impact of the expectation that the ECB’s interest rate hikes may be tapering off, following significant price corrections in preceding months.

EY, in a recent study, offered a more optimistic projection for the construction sector, anticipating a rebound from months of turmoil in 2024. Despite challenges stemming from rising material costs, supply bottlenecks, and expensive credit, EY’s analysis suggests that the industry will find equilibrium as inflation recedes and policy interventions strive to meet housing construction targets. Consequently, construction prices, historically volatile, are expected to normalize, potentially setting the stage for a stabilization of construction volume.


In terms of property prices in the long run, a joint study by Postbank and the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) predicts a mixed outlook for the German housing market. Approximately half of the surveyed districts and cities, comprising 400 regions, are anticipated to experience around a two percent decline in real terms by 2035. Conversely, 43% of districts are projected to witness price increases.

Leading the pack in rising real estate prices is Potsdam, situated on the outskirts of Berlin in Brandenburg. The city’s property prices could soar by up to 2.71% annually by 2035, making it a growth frontrunner. Erding, near Munich, follows closely with projected annual growth of around 2.13%, while Leipzig in Saxony and Frankfurt am Main are also expected to experience healthy growth.

The map below offers insights into the projected property price development in Germany until 2035

All of the remaining top 10 – including Landshut, Munich and Augsburg – were all located in Bavaria.

The so-called ‘big seven’ cities are also poised for positive price trajectories. While Hamburg is predicted to experience the lowest growth at 0.29% per year, Munich is forecasted to lead the pack with an impressive 2.08% growth rate. Berlin is expected to achieve healthy growth at 1.24% per year.

Conversely, the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) analysis suggests that properties in regions with inadequate infrastructure and declining populations, particularly in the eastern states, could witness value depreciation over the next decade. This scenario is likely to manifest in numerous areas across Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, and Saarland.

Rural regions in eastern Germany, disconnected from major cities and outside the Berlin commuter belt, face the possibility of significant price declines, ranging from 1.5% to 4.3% annually.

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By Cindy Porter|THE VOICE OF EU🇪🇺

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