A den of silver foxes light up the big screen — in more ways than one
- Last Updated: 11:56 PM, August 4, 2012
- Posted: 10:06 PM, August 4, 2012
Prepare to see Meryl Streep as you’ve never seen her before — on her knees.
In a scene from “Hope Springs,” a film about a married couple who head to a Maine retreat in order to repair their relationship, the Oscar-winning actress decides to give her crotchety husband, played by Tommy Lee Jones, a surprise.
They’re at a movie theater watching a French film with just a few other patrons around. Suddenly in the darkness, Streep nervously hops off her seat and begins to please the 65-year-old Jones.
The scene is meant to be lightly comedic, but younger viewers may squirm as unpleasant images of their parents flash through their minds.
Better get used to it. More than a decade after Bob Dole touted Viagra, sex among seniors seems to be becoming more prominent. And that includes the movies.
“Hope Springs” screenwriter Vanessa Taylor says portraying sexuality onscreen was vital to the story.
“For me, this was about a couple who was trying to become emotionally and physically intimate again, and [sexuality] was an important part and a part that I wanted to see,”says the 30-something screenwriter. “I wanted to know what it would look like to try and recover a romantic and sexual relationship if you were a little bit older and if you hadn’t necessarily been the sex queen in the first place. How would you explore trying to become sexual again?”
Not that writing all this was particularly comfortable.
“It was interesting, not exactly because of the age of the characters, but because of the intimacy between the characters, I thought, is this going to be embarrassing to show to people?” she says. “I was pleasantly surprised that the people I showed it to, had an instant personal reaction to it.”
Also due this year is “Hyde Park on Hudson,” about FDR’s (Bill Murray) affair with his cousin (Laura Linney). Kinky. In the just-released trailer for this fall’s “The Big Wedding,” Robert De Niro is shown trying to get it on with Susan Sarandon on the kitchen counter.
These films follow 2003’s success “Something’s Gotta Give,” which featured an affair between Jack Nicholson and (a fully nude) Diane Keaton. “It’s Complicated” from 2009 centered on an affair between divorced couple Alec Baldwin and Streep and included a Skype sex scene where Baldwin was lying naked on the bed.
This summer’s hit “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” told the story of a disparate group of retirees who move to a run-down hotel in Jaipur, India. It stars basically every great, silver-haired English actor you can think of, and almost all the storylines follow the characters’ search for love. One randy gentleman, played by the appropriately named Ronald Pickup, pops Viagra and goes on the hunt for widows at a local club. He’s later seen reading The Kama Sutra.
We could be seeing more romances featuring older characters, in part, because even youth-obsessed Hollywood knows a potential audience when when it sees it.
“I think there’s an element of finance and distribution that has woken up recently to the fact that there’s an older audience out there,” says “Marigold” producer Graham Broadbent. “[Older audiences] have time and money to visit the theater and are keen to be entertained.”
And regardless of the age of the characters, great stories should appeal to all ages.
“I don’t buy into the idea that if I’m 30, I can’t relate to people who are 60,” Taylor says. “That’s the writer’s job, to get an audience to relate to the story.”
Nice try, but some of these onscreen seniors are just too swinging.