Naomi Watts Was Told Her Acting Career Would End Once She ‘Became Unf—able’ at 40: ‘That Made Me So Mad’

Naomi Watts just earned strong reviews for leading Prime Video’s English-language remake of “Goodnight Mommy.” This month, she’s headlining Ryan Murphy’s latest Netflix thriller “The Watcher.” She’ll also be reuniting with the mega-producer to play Babe Paley in the Capote-centric second season of FX’s “Feud.” All of this is to say Watts’ acting career is thriving, which is not what she was told by an unnamed member of Hollywood after her U.S. breakthrough in David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive.” Watts was 33 years old at the time, which many in Hollywood viewed as late.

“I was told, ‘You better get a lot done because it’s all over at 40 when you become unfuckable.’ And I’m like, ‘What? What does that mean exactly?’” Watts recently told Entertainment Weekly. “Then you think about it, and you go, ‘Oh, right. When you are no longer reproductive, when those organs are no longer functioning, you are not sexy, so, therefore, you are not hirable.’ That just made me so mad.”

When asked what Hollywood can do to better make room for women who age, Watts responded, “It’s such an awkward conversation because, from day one, we begin our aging process. It’s something we just all have to get comfortable with and women are asked to do it more than men.”

“We don’t talk about a man aging hardly ever,” Watts continued. “We don’t talk about his gray hair. In fact, if we do, it’s like, ‘Oh, he gets more handsome, more desirable, more powerful.’ And why is he powerful? Because he’s accumulated experiences. Well, it should be the same for women. We’ve got important and powerful experiences as well at this age that we should feel proud of.”

Watts’ story is only the latest example of female actors in Hollywood being forced to contend with how “fuckable” they are. Charlize Theron recently made headlines for sharing a “belittling” experience from earlier her career in which an unnamed male director made repeated attempts to make her look more “fuckable” in their film.

“Having absolutely no control over what you’re wearing is a big one that really fucking annoyed me for years,” Theron said. “Having some guy make you have a fitting almost in front of them—stuff like that, it’s really belittling. When I started, there was no conversation around it. It was like, ‘This is what you’re wearing.’”

Theron continued, “I remember one movie in particular, this male director who just kept bringing me in, fitting after fitting after fitting after … And it was just so obvious that it was to do with my sexuality and how fuckable they could make me in the movie. And when I started out, that was just kind of the norm.”

Watts’ turn in “The Watcher” can be streamed Oct. 13 on Netflix.

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