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Growing Old in Hollywood

After losing her husband, Evelyn reinvents herself and meets new friends after moving to an exotic location in India.

Photo ©Fox Searchlight Pictures

Long gone are the days when a person spent his or her golden years relaxing in a rocking chair on the porch. Chalk it up to an uncertain economy, better health care or the lack of porches but the stereotypical depiction of aging is disappearing. And Hollywood appears to be leading the charge when it comes to portraying older people on the big screen.

“The stereotypical depiction of aging is disappearing.”

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel hosts a cast of aging actors playing a group of retirees looking for affordable housing in a rundown hotel in an exotic location. But retiring seems to be the last thing many mature performers want to do these days. And many of them aren’t content with the traditional roles offered to seasoned performers.

Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich are among the actors who play a group of former black-ops agents who come out of retirement to face off against a swarm of young FBI and CIA officers in Red and Red 2.

Sylvester Stallone has long refused to be a contented pensioner. In the first movie of his trilogy The Expendables his character leads a team of mercenaries who are hired to assassinate a South American dictator. Stallone also plays a hit man in Bullet to the Head and inmate in Escape Plan. Having begun his career playing a boxer in the Rocky movies, he revives his role as a pugilist in Grudge Match, playing an aging fighter who gets back in the ring. At age 67 this actor doesn’t appear to be ready for the rocking chair.

As Stallone’s co-star in the Escape Plan and The Expendables trilogy, the 66-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to acting after giving up his gig as Governor of California. There’s also talk of him reprising his role as Conan in a new movie called The Legend of Conan and as a robotic assassin in another Terminator film slated for 2015.

At age 77, Robert Redford gives a solo performance in the movie All Is Lost. Playing a man alone on a yacht in the middle of the Indian Ocean, he fights to survive after his boat sinks in a storm. While his age shows, Redford still puts in a powerful performance in this solo act.

Clint Eastwood has made a name for himself behind the camera in recent years. But his love of directing hasn’t kept the 1930 born performing from taking a starring role in the recent movies Gran Torino and Trouble with the Curve.

Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper and Justin Bartha play three buddies who plan a bachelor party in Las Vegas in the movie The Hangover. The trio makes an appearance in The Hangover 2 and The Hangover Part 3. While these three don’t qualify for senior status, their success in the raunchy comedy may be what inspired geriatric actors Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro and Kevin Kline to do their own version of a wild bachelor party in the movie Last Vegas.


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