Age is just a number for evergreen Hollywood stars
THERE was a time 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 and 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 comedy, which are consistent hits at the box office.
One of the new faves is 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 starred in the 2010 sleeper hit Red, along with other seniors playing retired spies and assassins who are brought back to frantic action.
For his part, Bruce Willis, 60, has found himself back in demand 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 vengeance trail when his loved ones' lives are placed in grave danger.
As for Meryl Streep, 66, she has suddenly discovered that many of her biggest hits have come only in the past decade - evidence that her career is on an enviable upward trajectory, even as many of her contemporaries have retired.
Most impressive of all is Clint Eastwood, 85, who 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 film-maker for the ages" title. But who cares when all that mature talent and cinematic wisdom are so excitingly, obviously in evidence?
It is already an achievement to have remained active in the movies for all these decades, but to have done so with such brilliance and distinction is nothing short of a triumph.
PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK