Shirley MacLaine: Hollywood 'ignores older viewers'

Shirley MacLaine Shirley MacLaine plays Martha Levinson in the next series of Downton Abbey

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Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine has criticised Hollywood for failing to make enough films for older people.

The 78-year-old star said she was now "in sync with an audience of senior citizens, and am making four pictures for them this year".

"They have no movies made for them. How many times can you see Batman?" she said during a Radio Times interview.

"Things are done according to money these days. Movie makers now choose profit over vision."

MacLaine was speaking after joining the cast ITV1's hit drama Downton Abbey, which returns for a third series in the autumn.

She will play Martha Levinson, the American mother of Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, who visits Britain in 1920 to attend the wedding of her granddaughter, Lady Mary, to Matthew Crawley.

Producers of the show have described Martha as "a wonderful combatant for Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess".

Despite having not heard of the show when she was asked to play Martha, MacLaine revealed she quickly became hooked.

Winning formula

"I got so interested I dropped out of sight for a couple of weeks watching every show," she said.

"It's so brilliant. Julian Fellowes has somehow hit on a formula of giving the right amount of characters the right amount of screen time in an internet age where there is just too much information."

Downton Abbey has been nominated for 16 Emmy Awards, which are due to be handed out in Los Angeles on 23 September.

MacLaine denied that she was brought into the lineup to pander to audiences in the US.

"It's not pandering. I'm a volleyball partner for (Dame) Maggie (Smith). Who else would they get? Let me think: Anthony Hopkins in drag," she said.

"I'm the same class as Maggie's character because we're both wealthy, but I confront her because I'm more involved with change."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    Hollywood exists to make large profits, and knows that it won't succeed with an audience in the 50+ bracket. It's as simple as that.

  • Comment number 66.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    This will have to change AND SOON; older generation will outnumber younger generation.
    I'm in my sixties. I've absolutely no interest in invading aliens, comic heroes, or watching people have sex. I like documentaries - thinking programs vs. action stuff.
    For most of current movies, if you've seen the trailer, you've seen the very best of the movie. So why go?

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    She is absolutely right, am tired seeing movies with teens actors in acting like 40yr olds and getting tired of the marvel action hero movies, do like the expendables tho, have even given up on xfactor now, have got bored with the same format and the way it is manufactured to try and get viewers, want some dramas now with money spent on them, and not murder mysteries, want something happy

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    I have to agree that some films lately have been woeful, aimed merely at the younger generation, with special effects the main part of the film. Far too many sequals and remakes of old films, I would love to see new films and storylines and imagination taking over from special effects. It's all now merchandising, branding and comic book heros, give me a good story any day over special effects.


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