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
    0

    Comment number 156.

    @chartier. No. The "older people" you know are obviously not the same (old) generation I belong to, who want more films about the realities of being older. For Hollywood, "people" equates as 'young, beautiful, thin, white'-- any other inclusions (coloured, fat, old, etc) are tokens. As an "older" person, I want non-plastic films without lippy teen bimbos, lippy teen vampires and lippy teen heroes.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 155.

    But "Marigold Hotel" was a good start. Miss Shirley is the best.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 154.

    EVERYONE ignores old people
    It's one of the advantages of growing old

    I prepared for rubbish TV etc during the 1980s by recording hundreds of films on VHS

    You can't see most of it now. Not PC enough

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 153.

    Without a cinema release most films are not viable. Many older people have a comfy homes with a nice big TV and see no need to go out to the cinema with its cramped seats and noisy annoying "other patrons". So, the films that get made tend to be for younger people who must/want to go out and if some appeal to older people on TV release then fine, but it can't be the industry's primary intent.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 152.

    That would be guaranteed to put me off going to the cinema. I think the bbc cater for quite enough old people on the tv in fact, a little too many in my mind. of course if you inist on going to bed at 9.00 then what else can you expect.My mum was 92 when she died and reckoned she was 25 in her head and from what I can make out thats true for most people over 65.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 151.

    It would also be good if when older parts are cast, the people playing them are approximately that age. I'm fed up with seeing 40 years olds expertly made up to look as though they're in their 60s.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 150.

    Isn't the current no: 1 film in America the expendables 2 about over the hill action hero's?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 149.

    Granted that most Hollywood films these days are SFX driven and don't even have much of a story. But if you want to leave your brain on standby then a good dollop of mindless action and spent bullet casings is okay

    As for catering for we older types... the Ice Age series is waaay too good to waste on the kids

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 148.

    No surprise about just being about the money but making films that appeal to the huge 50+ audience- many who spend more time and have more leisure time and interest in movies- Would actually be MORE profitable especially given the imbalance of movies. I'm 45 fem and its feels off just seeing women mostly under 25 all the time. I'd be drawn to see a 50 something inspiration.. more variety !!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 147.

    It would certainly appear that most Hollywood films are aimed at 15 year olds..... no doubt they are the most profitable demographic..

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 146.

    @#47 Rufus McDufus: "PS What is that on Shirley's head?"

    It's a tribble.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 145.

    142. Colin2108
    +++
    New Tricks?
    Sherlock Holmes?
    Revised upstairs/Downstairs?
    George Gently?
    Parade's End?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 144.

    Currently my tv has approx 130 channels.
    I watch perhaps 5.
    Perhaps if more programmes were about how our democracy is supposed to work and how our "leaders" manipulate to avoid serving us in order to control?
    It matters not how much "output" there is, but real quality is missing.
    Proper education on TV would be good to replace the dumbing down and Americanisation currently widespread in media.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 143.

    I'm sure there are plenty of films being made with older people, just not by Hollywood and its target audience. Same with black actors who complain about the lack of roles for them and yet restrict their complaints to Hollywood, because the roles that don't have the fame, kudos, money or reach fail to be of interest. Are you artists or celebrities? There's so much more to film than Hollywood.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 142.

    I think the bosses at the BBC should give Ms MacLaine's words some thought. Downton Abbey is an ITV show. Most of the BBC's output is youth oriented and what it calls drama is woeful.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 141.

    Wow this is so heavy a stuff mon.

    It's like another world in a over cooked hot dog wrapped around a water bottle jammed into a snail's ear.

    This top news story is too over my head.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 140.

    Shirley, didn't hear you complain about this when you were a youngster.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 139.

    Are older people just not watching films these days OR are they just not going to the cinema any longer? It's probably the latter.

    Sure you get the bigger screen, but if you're older do you need the hassle of finding somewhere to park near by, jostled about in the queue only to have some aggressive idiot talk through the film or throw the overpriced pop corn at the back of your head?

    Nah.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 138.

    Don't worry Shirley. In a few short years you will be reincarnated and have the chance to start over again as a child. You'll like the movies then.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 137.

    Whilst I agree films nowday need more thought in them, as a film geek I think many will agree that the 70s had some of the best ever made, I have to disagree about the Batman comment. That was one of the best trilogies ever, easliy stands by Downton. Comic movies are the modern political thrillers if done right, just see Watchmen.

 

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