Olivia Wilde has revealed she was passed over for The Wolf of Wall Street for being "too old", after auditioning for the role of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio)'s wife in the Oscar-nominated film.
Speaking to Howard Stern, she recalled that she was told upfront she was considered too "sophisticated" to play the Duchess of Bay Ridge, Naomi Lapaglia; later discovering the feedback was just a coded term for her age.
OK, let's break down the maths here: Wilde was 28 at the time, while DiCaprio was 37; the actor eventually chosen was Margot Robbie, who was 22 at the time.
Though the age difference between Jordan and Naomi links into his portrayal as a man obsessed with the superficiality of the moneyed lifestyle, it's a notion which could have just as easily been expressed with the near 10-year difference between Wilde and DiCaprio; Robbie and DiCaprio have 15-years between them, in comparison.
The actresses against sexism in Hollywood
The actresses against sexism in Hollywood
1/12 Anne Hathaway
The 32-year-old actress said she has already experiences job rejections because of her age. “Now I'm in my early thirties and I'm like, 'Why did that 24-year-old get that part? I was that 24-year-old once. I can't be upset about it, it's the way things are,” she told Glamour.
2/12 Helen Mirren
On news that Maggie Gyllenhaal had been turned down for being ‘too old’, aged 37, to play a 55-year-old man’s partner: “It’s f***ing outrageous. It’s ridiculous. Honestly, it’s so annoying. And ’twas ever thus. We all watched James Bond as he got more and more geriatric, and his girlfriends got younger and younger. It’s so annoying.”
3/12 Maggie Gyllenhaal
Gyllenhaal revealed she was told by a Hollywood producer that she was too old, aged 37, to play the love interest of a 55-year-old man. “It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made feel angry, and then it made me laugh,” she said at the time.
4/12 Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep has helped fund an all-female screenwriters group called The Writer’s Lab to encourage more women to pen Hollywood scripts. She previously told Vogue in 2011: “Once women pass childbearing age they could only be seen as grotesque on some level.”
5/12 Emma Thompson
The actress said she thought Hollywood is “still completely s***” when it comes to treating women equally to men. ““When I was younger, I really did think we were on our way to a better world. And when I look at it now, it is in a worse state than I have known it, particularly for women, and I find that very disturbing and sad.”
6/12 Elizabeth Banks
Banks said she was driven from acting to directing due to the lack of roles for older women in Hollywood. “"[Industry sexism] drove me to direct for sure. I definitely was feeling that I was unfulfilled and a little bit bored by the things that were coming across my desk. I mean look at Gwyneth Paltrow who has her Oscar [for Shakespeare in Love] and played fifth banana to Iron Man,” she told Deadline.
7/12 Viola Davis
“I had never seen a 49-year-old, dark-skinned woman who is not a size 2 be a sexualised role in TV or film. I'm a sexual woman, but nothing in my career has ever identified me as a sexualised woman. I was the prototype of the ‘mommified’ role,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.
8/12 Liv Tyler
The Lord of the Rings actress said she only get cast in roles where she is treated as a “second class citizen” at the age of 38. “When you’re in your teens or twenties, there is an abundance of ingenue parts which are exciting to play. But at [my age], you’re usually the wife or the girlfriend - a sort of second-class citizen. There are more interesting roles for women when they get a bit older,” she told More magazine.
9/12 Cate Blanchett
The actress famously called out sexism on the red carpet at the 2014 Screen Actors Guild Awards. When a camera operator scanned her up and down, she said: “Do you do this to the guys?” In her Oscar acceptance speech for Blue Jasmine, she reminded the film industry that movies with leading women can still be successful. “And thank you to... those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films, with women at the centre, are niche experiences. They are not -- audiences want to see them and, in fact, they earn money. The world is round, people.”
10/12 Ellen Page
Asked if she had ever encountered sexism in Hollywood, Page told The Guardian: ‘Oh my God, yeah! It's constant! It's how you're treated, it's how you're looked at, how you're expected to look in a photoshoot, it's how you're expected to shut up and not have an opinion, it's how you... If you're a girl and you don't fit the very specific vision of what a girl should be, which is always from a man's perspective, then you're a little bit at a loss.”
11/12 Zoe Saldana
The actress says she refuses roles where she has to play the generic girlfriend, wife or sexy bombshell. "It's very hard being a woman in a man's world, and I recognised it was a man's world even when I was a kid. It's an inequality and injustice that drove me crazy, and which I always spoke out against — and I've always been outspoken,” she told Manhattan magazine.
12/12 Charlize Theron
The actress spoke to ELLE about negotiating equal pay for the Snow White and the Huntsman sequel: "This is a good time for us to bring this to a place of fairness, and girls need to know that being a feminist is a good thing. It doesn't mean that you hate men. It means equal rights. If you're doing the same job, you should be compensated and treated in the same way."
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
The fact Wilde even auditioned for the role suggests she was, at least once, considered an appropriate age for Naomi; so it's a little disappointing to see even a Martin Scorcese picture accord with the age biases Hollywood holds against actresses, even if it did afford Robbie the big break she needed to land her role as Harley Quinn in the upcoming Suicide Squad.
Wilde also admitted to Stern she had a feeling 2011's Cowboys and Aliens was destined to flop; "I think we knew from the beginning that a movie called Cowboys and Aliens was treading a fine line, like in terms of the tone. We were like, 'What? Is this gonna work?' And I think - I wasn’t totally surprised it was hit or miss, but I loved the movie. I thought [director] Jon Favreau did such a great job."
She also talked about her career-making turn on TV's long-running medical drama, House. "We did so many of them, and it was like such hard work for so long, and I think I got lazy. You can get so wrapped up in memorising that dialogue that you forget to act, you’re just reciting."
"So that’s what I catch myself doing. I’ll see it on at like the gym or the airport or something, and I’m like, 'Oh my god.' I’m literally just clinging to the dialogue. You can see my eyes like twitching."
Wilde currently stars in HBO's Vinyl, which has already been renewed for season 2.