'Who's To Say That Somebody's Not Sexy?' Demi Moore Opens Up About Hitting 40 In Hollywood And How 'The Rules' Are Changing

 Demi Moore in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.
Demi Moore in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.

Demi Moore, the legendary actress celebrated for her transformative roles and enduring beauty, is again making headlines with her bold career choices and fearless performances. Known for her iconic starring roles in films like Now And Then and Striptease, Moore continues pushing boundaries with her upcoming horror movie The Substance, where she’s baring it all at 61. In a recent interview, the Hollywood A-lister spoke about hitting 40 in Hollywood and how ‘the rules’ are changing. Reflecting on these changes, the A Few Good Men star remarked, “Who’s to say that somebody’s not sexy?”

In a candid interview with Variety, The Dirty Diana alum shared her experiences and insights, shedding light on how the industry’s attitudes toward women over 40 are gradually changing. The Empire veteran’s recent role as Ann Woodward in FX’s Feud: Capote vs. the Swans offered her a deep dive into the life of the troubled socialite. When creator Ryan Murphy approached Demi with the role, she accepted without hesitation, telling him, “Whatever it is, I’ll do it.”

This unwavering commitment set the stage for Moore’s intensive research into Woodward’s life, starting with Laurence Leamer’s 2023 book, the series' basis. The Juror actress elaborated:

Who’s to say that somebody’s not sexy? It was really something that was tied to that time period of a woman’s life. I think we’re kind of debunking these rules.

The Mr. Brooks star's career, spanning over four decades, has seen her navigate Hollywood's evolving landscape. From her breakout role in St. Elmo's Fire to unforgettable performances in Ghost and G.I. Jane, Demi has continually reinvented herself, proving that talent and allure do not fade with age.

Reflecting on her experiences after turning 40, Moore acknowledged her challenges while noting a significant shift in the industry. She elaborated:

It has shifted. There’s evolution that has occurred, even, I would say from when I was 40. Because when I was 40 but didn’t look like what they imagined 40 should look like, they didn’t know what to do with me. I didn’t actually work that much, because I wasn’t 20 or 30. I think if we really look at the deeper crux of this, what we’re looking at is this old idea that women’s value and desirability was tied to their fertility.

This sentiment will surely resonate with many women in the industry who have felt marginalized as they aged. Hollywood has long been criticized for its obsession with youth, often sidelining talented actresses once they reach a certain age.

The Indecent Proposal star also highlighted the societal shame associated with women expressing their sexuality and desire, a stigma that she believes is slowly eroding. She continued:

… it was as if there was shame attached to being sexual or having desire, because it was only tied to it being for the purpose of it versus the independence of it. So I think as we have taken greater ownership of ourselves in this way, I think we’re also seeing it reflected.

In the recent FX drama, Woodward, whom Demi portrays, is available to stream with a Hulu subscription and has a complex and tragic story. In 1955, she shot her husband, mistaking him for an intruder. Though the jury deemed it an accident, the incident sparked endless speculation and led to her social ostracism. The socialite’s life took a darker turn in 1975 when she took her own life after reading an excerpt from Truman Capote's upcoming book in Esquire magazine, where he accused her of murder. Moore aimed to capture Woodward’s internal struggles, driven by a desperate need for external validation.

Working alongside talented women like Naomi Watts, Diane Lane, Chloë Sevigny, Jessica Lange, and Molly Ringwald in Ryan Murphy’s series provided Moore with a refreshing contrast to Woodward’s isolation. She continued:

How often do you get to see three women, let alone seven? To just be in the company of such talented, creative artists that are my peers was just a delight… We were playing our ages!

This is crucial in an industry that has historically marginalized older women. Watts recently shared that she was told her career would be over at 40 because she would become “unfuckable,” highlighting the persistent ageism in Hollywood.

Demi Moore isn’t content with work on the small screen and is set to return to the big screen with The Substance. The horror movie is more than just a comeback; it's a powerful testament to her dedication and resilience. This film significantly departed from her previous roles and earned her and the crew a 13-minute standing ovation at Cannes. The thriller tackles themes of self-hatred and fearlessly critiques the brutal beauty standards imposed on women by society, all while confronting the inevitability of aging. With its grotesque visuals and intense sound design, The Substance promises to be a visceral experience. I, for one, cannot wait to see it when it hits the 2024 movie release schedule.