Unions Want IMDB To Stop Putting Actors' Ages

Categories: Celebs

SandraBullockMay09.jpg

IMDb.com has the wrong age for me -- they actually make me older than I really am, and you're just gonna have to believe me on that.

I tried to change it, but gave up, finding it too difficult to do so and ultimately not caring that much.

And I've generally found it a breath of fresh air that they list actors' birthdates (their correct ones, I hope).

With all the lies and evasions out there, it seems to level the playing field and just say, "Here's how old they are. Deal with it."

But the actors' unions vehemently disagree, and they're always worth listening to.

SAG and AFTRA have been begging imdb to remove the birthdates.

As a press release says:

"An actor's actual age is irrelevant to casting. What matters is the age range that an actor can portray. For the entire history of professional acting, this has been true, but that reality has been upended by the development of IMDb as an industry standard used in casting offices across America.

"IMDb publishes the actual dates of birth of thousands of actors without their consent, most of them not celebrities but rank-and-file actors whose names are unknown to the general public.

"When their actual ages then become known to casting personnel, the 10+ year age range that many of them can portray suddenly shrinks, and so do their opportunities to work."

Point taken -- but is the way to get more work for actors simply to cover up how old they really are?



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19 comments
mjm
mjm

now if only Sandra can be honest about something else *cough* lesbian *cough*

Magenta
Magenta

Shouldn't the unions be mad at the industry for being ageist rather than target imdb for being honest???

MSpeer
MSpeer

I agree. IMDB was created as a database. To me that implies the sharing of correct information--including the ages of those appearing in the films. Now it's merely a place to hawk the sale of DVDs, etc.

This obsession with youth does terrible things to people. Demi Moore and Madonna look downright skeletal. And others have had plastic surgery that has changed them into aliens with giant cheekbones, huge lips, ad the same almond shaped eyes.

Stan S. Lavski
Stan S. Lavski

Maria Ouspenskaya always complained to me that her birth date - 1841 - on IMDb, cost her a lot of gigs.  

mYtY
mYtY

The days of lying about your age are really over, even if your not listed on IMDB, a simple check on any generic people search brings up most peoples age.. if you have a common last name like collins, smith, prince, its hard to pinpoint u, but say you have a less common name for example like Kim Kardashian, Stefani Germanotta, -u cant lie

Lost Weekend
Lost Weekend

On a related note, over at New York Magazine, they've posted a slide show of 10 screen parents who were barely older than their kids.  Case in point:  27-year-old Olivia Wilde has been cast in the movie "Time" as the mother to 30-year-old Justin Timberlake.   Yikes!  

Curt
Curt

Not really the best example considering no one in the movie ages past 25. You could cast Miley Cyrus as a Great Grandmother in that movie.

Marcos
Marcos

Better examples are Anne Bancroft in The Graduate and Angela Lansbury in Manchurian Candidate.

Savannah Montgomery
Savannah Montgomery

"In other fields, when interviewing potential employees, asking age is illegal. Would you also endorse posting religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation to "level the playing field"

Yes, but we're talking the Hollywood fantasy machine where everything is based on "credibility" as in "playing" an ax-murderer rather than "being" one...that said, I could argue BOTH sides of the age debate.

rolph
rolph

IMDB also DOES include tidbits about their lives, often including religion and political leanings, etc. not to mention spouses, lovers, etc). To leave out their birthdate would seem silly. Imdb is providing a bio of the person as well as a career resume.

Melinda9
Melinda9

I never understand this need to know how old someone is. Who cares? It's just another way to label people and make sure they get shoved into their 'proper' category.

rphunt
rphunt

"is the way to get more work for actors simply to cover up how old they really are?" Not by itself no, but it can cause undue and irrelevant bias in casting. We currently live in an extremely ageist society, which your post kind of proves. In other fields, when interviewing potential employees, asking age is illegal. Would you also endorse posting religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation to "level the playing field"? Additionally, there are security concerns. Even Wikipedia discourages posting full birth data, as it can potentially be used in identity theft. And if you think that last sentence is silly, the online world holds many surprises for you ;)

rolph
rolph

Well, then no actor should show their  face in public because they might look old and therefore won't get parts.

Also, if someone's casting for a 40-year-old woman--and they do--what good would it do a 40 year old woman to not have her age listed??

bett
bett

But what is relevant on screen will be how old the actor LOOKS not how old the actor IS. If a 40 year old actor has aged well and can pass for 30 it is a disservice for them to be shut out of consideration for a 30 year old role that they could convincingly perform. Likewise, if a 30 year old actor has lived rough and looks 40 it would do no good for them to be automatically shut out of 40 year old roles and only given consideration for 30 year old roles they do not suit and will not get.

Vivi
Vivi

Love that you used a photo of Ms. Bullock.

mjm
mjm

which actors/actresses were complaining

Ynnocence
Ynnocence

They've been covering up their sexual preference if it meets with public disapproval. The denial of elderly status (the equivalent of being sexually queer or, in an earlier period, of being mulatto) would invoke all those other painful issues that lead people to closet themselves. Meaning, it would be terribly awkward for a performer to be ashamed of admitting her or his actual age, but for those actors who don't think it matters, their dates of birth should be posted properly, right?

Sorry that this is somewhat involved, but imagine a scenario where two actors are bidding for equal prominence - one with her age out there, another with either a blank or a false date (eventually verified). Who's the one who'll have to contend with a credibility problem?

Southern Dave
Southern Dave

I guess IMDB knows that you were the original "Mikey" in those cereal commercials:

"Give it to Mikey! He'll eat anything!"

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