‘Senior moments’ in films
Time was when stars could plan on having a popular and productive career of some three decades, after which they had to “face reality” and go on self-imposed retirement, or settle for occasional “character” or “supporting” roles.
That was when the TV-film industry was exceedingly youth-oriented. Today, however, quite a number of “senior” stars have been given lead roles in new movies—some of which turn out to be hits, proving that, for some durable talents who still look good in their mature years, age really is a number.
For the most part, their tickets to renewed, second-wind stellar success have been action, drama and comedies, which are consistent hits at the box office.
Unexpectedly, one of the new faves in this regard has been 69-year-old Helen Mirren. While her less adventurous and physically fit contemporaries have been more “sensibly” stroking cats and elegantly smelling the flowers, Mirren has starred in the sleeper hit, “Red,” along with other seniors playing retired spies and assassins who are brought back to antic action!
For his part, Bruce Willis, 60, has found himself “in demand” once again for action capers that would stress and strain actors half his age!
Meanwhile, Liam Neeson, 63, has suddenly become very busy playing new variations on a film type that used to be the sole preserve of Charles Bronson—the peaceable family man and dad who snaps and goes on the “crazy” vengeance trail when his loved ones’ lives are placed in grave danger.
As for Meryl Streep, 66, she’s “suddenly” discovered that many of her biggest hits have made it in only the past decade—evidence that her career is on an enviable upward trajectory, even as many of her contemporaries have been “gracefully retired.”
Most impressive of all is Clint Eastwood who, at 85, is still an in-demand actor-director. He looks every month and week as “ancient” as his chronological age, a veritable, proud successor to John Huston’s “master filmmaker for the ages” title. But, who cares when all that matured talent and cinematic wisdom are so excitingly, obviously in evidence?
It’s already an achievement to have remained stellarly active in the movies for all those years and decades, but to have done so with such brilliance and distinction is nothing short of a triumph!
On the local TV-film scene, our senior actors have also been enjoying a late-late resurgence in their careers, due to the extended popularity of teleseryes. Those shows are in constant need of veteran performers to provide the thespic “meat,” grit and texture that their callous, shallow, younger lead players can’t summon up. Paced by the venerable Eddie Garcia and Gloria Romero, their productive ranks include leading lights like Ronaldo Valdez, Tirso Cruz III, Alicia Alonzo, Perla Bautista, Joonee Gamboa and Tommy Abuel.