Famke Janssen, 50, Calls Out Russell Crowe for His Ageism Comments: “Don’t Remember Him Being Female”

Famke Janssen
Famke Janssen attends the "Taken 3" Fan Event Screening at the AMC Empire 25 theater on January 7, 2015 in New York City. Mike Pont/FilmMagic

Her take! Famke Janssen reacted to Russell Crowe's controversial comments about women in Hollywood tackling age-appropriate roles at the Taken 3 premiere in NYC on Wednesday, Jan. 7.

"That's interesting," Janssen, 50, told reporters on the red carpet. "I don't remember him being female," she sniped.

In a recent interview with Australian Women's Weekly, 50-year-old Crowe said he was "too old" to reprise his Gladiator role. The Oscar winner further noted that his female counterparts should also embrace their ages when signing on for films.

"I think you'll find that the woman who is saying that [the roles have dried up] is the woman who at 40, 45, 48, still wants to play the ingénue," Crowe remarked. "And can't understand why she's not being cast as the 21-year-old."

Janssen further elaborated on Wednesday, the dichotomy between men and women in the industry. "When you compare it to the 1920s and '30s, it's a shame what's happened since then. That was the golden age for women in film," she said. "They were allowed to be smart, funny, quirky, dramatic, whatever you name it… that's clearly not the case anymore. If you look per movie the number of male parts and female parts — and I know because I even directed one myself [2011's Bringing Up Bobby] and put a female [Milla Jovovich] in the lead. It's really rare [for women to take the lead]."

Still, the X-Men actress said TV has actually been making great strides towards appropriating female lead characters. "The good news is it's changing and it's changing largely because a lot of the shows… are turning to women for female driven story lines and plots. I think that’s a really great departure from where we were."

In addition to Janssen, several other actresses responded to Crowe's comments this week, including Meryl Streep and Jessica Chastain. Zero Dark Thirty actress Chastain, 37, said the actor is "getting his foot stuck in his mouth" while speaking to reporters at an NYC gala. Streep, 65, meanwhile, defended Crowe and said his words were misconstrued.

As for Janssen getting killed off in the third installment of Taken? The Taken and Taken 2 star told reporters that it was far from devastating.

"Before I read the script they already told me," she recalled Wednesday. "And I said, 'How dead?' And they said, 'Dead.' And I said, 'How quickly?' So we had a negotiation about it, but somebody had to take the bullet, figuratively speaking, and I took it. I took the high road and said 'I'll be the one.' It's the third and final installment and I'm thrilled to go to make it a better story line so nobody gets taken."

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