Geena Davis Says 'Great Roles Were Incredibly Scarce' After She Turned 40: I 'Fell Off the Cliff'

The Thelma & Louise actress told The Guardian that once she had "a four" in front of her age she "fell off the cliff"

Geena Davis
Photo: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty

Geena Davis is reflecting on ageism and sexism in Hollywood and how it affected her personally.

Speaking with The Guardian, Davis, 64, revealed that once she had "a four" in front of her age, she "fell off the cliff."

"I really did," she said. "In the early stages of my career, I was blithely going along thinking, 'Meryl Streep, Jessica Lange and Sally Field, they’re all making these great female-centric movies. And I’m getting these great roles, really tippy-top roles, so things must be getting better for women.' But suddenly, the great roles were incredibly scarce. It was a big difference."

Davis revealed that she could not believe that her biggest roles, and the work of other female actresses, had not ushered in the change that she was hoping to see within the film industry, even after films like 1991's Thelma & Louise had people saying there would be "so many movies starring women."

"Then A League of Their Own comes out and everyone says: 'Now there’s going to be so many women’s sports movies!' And five years go by … It was a shock that absolutely nothing happened," she added of her 1992 hit film.

Phillip Faraone/Getty.

Davis won an honorary Oscar in 2019 for her work fighting for gender-parity in media through her Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

RELATED VIDEO: Geena Davis on How Her Foundation Has Influenced More Gender Parity on Screen

Now, Davis is helping to put together this summer’s Bentonville Film Festival — which she co-founded in 2015 to promote women and minorities in the film industry — where more than 80% of the films were directed by women, 65% by people of color and 40% by LGBTQ people.

"Oh, we want to change the world!” she said. "Our goal is very simple: the storytellers and people on screen should reflect the population, which is half female and incredibly diverse. It’s not like: 'Wow, what a far-fetched idea!' It just makes total sense."

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