My friend and fellow movie critic Christian Toto has a terrific article in Moviemaker about aging actors like Sylvester Stallone (“Rocky” and “Rambo”), Bruce Willis (“Die Hard”), and Harrison Ford (“Indiana Jones”) keeping their franchise series going over the decades.
Some of the recent aging action stars have hedged their bets by injecting their casts with younger stars. “Live Free or Die Hard” featured Justin Long (the Mac guy) to banter with Willis’ hero, and Ford will have teen sensation Shia LaBeouf (“Transformers”) to pal around with this spring.
[Film historian Patricia King] Hanson says today’s stars in general tend to shine longer, if not as bright, as their cinematic peers from earlier eras. Actors who ruled Hollywood in the 1940s all but disappeared as major attractions 30 years later.
Yet the actors who broke through in the 1960s and ’70s, like Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood and Robert De Niro, still command above-the-title respect today. Maybe it’s just that today’s actors are savvier about the roles they choose and how they navigate the press gauntlet to keep their names in the public’s mind. Or, offers Hanson, it could be that audiences realize the older stars look more and more like they do.
“I do believe that the demographics of the U.S. population help people accept older stars in action roles,” Hanson says.
One of the highlights of the new movie is the reappearance of Indiana Jones’ best leading lady, Karen Allen as Marian. Allen is 56 years old and has been living in Vermont as a fiber artist. She admitted that as soon as she got the call about being in the movie she went to the gym but she has not had the usual Hollywood “work” done — no Botox, no face lift. She is completely authentic and radiantly lovely.