DAME Helen Mirren has criticised Hollywood bosses for making too many movies aimed at men, insisting filmmakers continue to "worship at the altar of the 18 to 25-year-old male and his penis".
The British actress made the claim during a speech at the Hollywood Reporter's annual Power 100 Women In Entertainment Breakfast in Los Angeles on Tuesday (07Dec10) as she picked up a career achievement award.
Mirren praised the talented women working in the movie industry today, but admitted her fears that Hollywood still focuses on filling the screen with sexy women for the enjoyment of young male cinema-goers.
She said, "I resent in my life the survival of some very mediocre male actors and the professional demise of some very brilliant female ones. However, with all due respect to you many brilliant and successful women in this room... really not too much has changed in the canon of Hollywood filmmaking that continues to worship at the altar of the 18 to 25-year-old male and his penis... Quite small, I always think."
In a subsequent interview with the publication, she explained that being attractive should not be the most important quality for actresses, adding, "(It makes me feel) a bit cross, actually. We have to let go of this c**p. It creates even more pressure on women, and I certainly don't want to be a part of that. I'm not beautiful; I clean up nice... (but) the fact that I look good at the age I am is bloody irrelevant."
Halle Berry, who presented Mirren with the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award in recognition of her personal and professional integrity, used her time on stage to praise the veteran actress for paving the way for older female stars to remain in work.
She adds, "The thing I want to say is that the last bastion of civil rights in the movie business is ageism. And Helen you have single-handedly, all by yourself, broken down that barrier because you can age, you can do films that are successful and you can still be hot as hell."