Monica Bellucci, 50, is the oldest Bond love interest ever cast opposite Daniel Craig, 46.
While men in Hollywood can age comfortably, for the most part their love interests don’t. Take Will Smith, 46, being paired up with Margot Robbie, 24, in the new movie Focus, or Bradley Cooper, age 40, reuniting with his 24-year-old Silver Linings Playbook costar Jennifer Lawrence in May’s Serena. Although a 16-plus year age gap is more of a rarity in real life, in Hollywood it’s pretty standard, and somehow not considered ridiculous.
But two new films are signaling a shift. Patricia Clarkson, 55, is romancing Scott Speedman, 39, in October Gale out next week. Even more groundbreaking, 50-year-old Italian bombshell Monica Bellucci is set to be the latest Bond girl in Spectre. Bellucci however, told The Sunday Times, she prefers the term “Bond Woman.”
Bellucci who is four years older than costar Daniel Craig, 46, was shocked when she got the call from director Sam Mendes. She was convinced she was being cast to replace 80-year-old Judi Dench as M. “My first thought was, ‘How can I be a Bond girl at 50?’” According to Bellucci, Mendes declared, “For the first time in history, James Bond is going to have a story with a mature woman.” Bellucci was thrilled, “I told Sam he would be a hero among women for casting me in Spectre.”
Previously, the oldest Bond love interest was Honor Blackman who played the memorable Pussy Galore at 39. Notable actresses to have locked lips with Bond include Jane Seymour at 22, Kim Basinger at 39, Halle Berry at 36, and Ursula Andress at 26 and 31. The glamorous Bellucci who is an icon in Italy, along with a Dolce & Gabbana muse, has no problem seducing Bond in the newest flick. As she told The Times of London, “True sexiness is in the mind, the imagination – not in the age of the body.”
Dolce & Gabbana muse Monica Bellucci in the brand’s Italian Family ad campaign
It’s a huge change from ten years ago, when Bellucci then cast as Mary Magdalene in The Passion of the Christ, quipped that she could never live in Hollywood thanks to the industry’s narrow view on age. “They are obsessed with youth and beauty even more than us,” she said. “There is this thing in America where actresses reach 40 and go mad. The film industry wants all these young people.”
Bellucci’s casting speaks volumes to counter the absurd idea that over-40 male actors should always be paired with women at least a decade younger. The reality, even in Hollywood is that couples come in a variety of age pairings. Let’s hope Hollywood starts reflecting that variety even more.
55-year-old Patricia Clarkson romances Scott Speedman, 39 in October Gale