Russell Crowe has garnered both criticism and support for his controversial remarks on age appropriate roles for women in Hollywood. In an interview with Australian Women's Weekly, Crowe said that all older actors - of both sexes - were able to pick up pretty much any role providing they were not expected to play a characters in his or her 20s.

Russell CroweRussell Crowe most recently starred in the biblical epic Noah

"To be honest, I think you'll find that the woman who is saying that [the roles have dried up] is the woman who at 40, 45, 48, still wants to play the ingenue, and can't understand why she's not being cast as the 21-year-old," said Crowe. "Meryl Streep will give you 10,000 examples and arguments as to why that's bullshit, so will Helen Mirren, or whoever it happens to be. If you are willing to live in your own skin, you can work as an actor. If you are trying to pretend that you're still the young buck when you're my age, it just doesn't work."

More: Russell Crowe calls out actresses for not acting their age

The comments fly in the face of remarks by Rosanna Arquette who suggested roles dried up in Hollywood once they hit a certain age. 

Crowe added: "I have heard of an actress, part of her fee negotiation was getting the number of children she was supposed to have lessened. Can you believe this? This (character) was a woman with four children, and there were reasons why she had to have four children - mainly, she lived in a cold climate and there was nothing to do but fornicate all day - so quit arguing, just play the role!"

Jessica ChastainJessica Chastain [L] stars in A Most Violent Year

One of the most prominent critics of Crowe's remarks is acclaimed actress Jessica Chastain who, after taking home Best Supporting Actress for A Most Violent Year at the National Board of Review's annual gala, said: "I think Russell keeps getting his foot stuck in his mouth!" 

"There are some incredible actresses in their 50s and 60s who are not getting opportunities in films, and for someone to say there are plenty of roles for women that age is someone not going to the movie theater," she said.

More: Is it time to consider Russell Crowe as one of Hollywood's greatest actors?

Still, Crowe found support from Meryl Streep, whom he mentioned in his original answer.

"The Russell Crowe thing, I'm so glad you asked about [that]," Streep said in an interview prior to the London's premiere of Into the Woods. "I read what he said - all of what he said. It's been misappropriated, what he was talking about. He was talking about himself.

Meryl StreepMeryl Streep plays the witch in musical-adventure Into the Woods

"The journalist asked him, 'Why don't you do another Gladiator, you know, everybody loved that.' He said, 'I'm too old. I can't be the gladiator anymore. I'm playing parts that are appropriate to my age. Then the conversation went on to actresses. So that was proving a point,  that he was talking about himself, as most actors do.

"That aside, I agree with him. It's good to live in the place where you are ... You can put old age on; it's a lot harder to take it off."

Crowe is currently shooting The Nice Guys - a crime-thriller about a private eye who investigates the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles and uncovers a conspiracy. It's the work of director Shane Black and co-stars man of the moment Ryan Gosling. 

More: check out our full review of Into The Woods