John Cusack on Ageism and Sexism in Hollywood: “I got another 15, 20 years before they say I’m old. For women it’s brutal”

john cusack

Many might think that at age 48 John Cusack is a bit young to be launching into “back in my day” tirades, but anyone who has followed the actor’s internet presence over the last decade can confirm that Cusack doesn’t hold back from opening up about his opinions on politics, the environment, and other issues. In his new film Maps to the Stars, Cusack plays a phoney Hollywood self-help guru who is involved in the seedy side of Hollywood. In an interview with The Guardian to promote the film, Cusack doesn’t hold back from speaking about what he believes are the inequalities in Hollywood regarding age and gender.

Cusack is dismissive of the trendy Los Angeles that his character parodies in Map to the Stars. He says, “LA seems to be a place where a guy can say he’s a ‘life-coach-channeller-masseur.’ It just seems to be ripe with all these frontier crazies. People are looking to turn their pain into beautiful art, but they also want to be famous. And there’s so much money – so of course all the predators come in.”

Cusack is even more critical of how Hollywood treats actresses in their mid-to-late twenties. He points out, “I got another 15, 20 years before they say I’m old. For women it’s brutal. Bruce’s thing about if you’re 26, you’re menopausal? It’s only absurd because it’s a little bit further than the truth. I have actress friends who are being put out to pasture at 29. They just want to open up another can of hot 22. It’s becoming almost like kiddie porn. It’s fucking weird.”

Though Cusack was a teenage star (he began acting in the early-to-mid 1980s in films like Sixteen Candles, The Sure Thing, Better Off Dead… and Say Anything…), he believes that young actors today don’t have the same quality of mentors in show business as he had when he was growing up. He recalls, “People would look after you when I was a kid. There were good people in the business. When I came to LA Rob Reiner said: ‘Come stay at my house.’ He taught me. I worked with Pacino [in 1996 crime drama City Hall]. Pacino would talk to you and mentor you. Now it’s different. The culture just eats young actors up and spits them out. It’s a hard thing to survive without finding safe harbor.”

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