If you’ve visited a cinema at any point in the last couple of decades you’re probably aware of the age gap often present between the male and female lead actors in Hollywood films.
But now, playwright Sir David Hare has confessed that the 20-year difference between Bill Nighy and Rachel Weisz in his 2011 BBC thriller Page Eight was ‘disgusting and so wrong’.
Nighy was 61-years-old when he played Johnny Worricker, a long-serving MI5 analyst, in the first of Sir David’s Worricker trilogy – while Weisz, who portrayed his love interest, political activist Nancy Pierpan, was aged 41.
The playwright was asked by Jay Rayner, the food writer, for the Out to Lunch podcast, why, in the Worricker films, Nighy ‘keeps getting to snog women 20 years his junior’, referring to Weisz, according to The Telegraph.
Sir David replied: ‘Yeah, it’s disgusting, isn’t it? It’s so wrong and so typically male.’
Yet to the outrage of campaigners, Hollywood age gaps have not narrowed since Page Eight was released; Daniel Craig, 53, is currently seen in No Time to Die with his love interest played by Lea Seydoux, 36.
Playwright Sir David Hare has confessed that the 20-year difference between Bill Nighy and Rachel Weisz in his 2011 BBC thriller Page Eight (pictured) was ‘disgusting and so wrong’
Revealed: Age gaps between on-screen romances
Here, FEMAIL reveals some of the age gaps between on-screen romances in the last couple of decades in Hollywood films…
Ted – 13 years
The couple (pictured) central to the 2012 film Ted boasted a 13-year age gap, with Mark Wahlberg aged 41 and Mila Kunis aged 28 at the time
Silver Linings Playbook – 15 years
Silver Linings Playbook (2012) featured Jennifer Lawerence (pictured right), aged 22, opposite Bradley Cooper (pictured left), who was 37 at the time
No Time To Die – 17 years
Daniel Craig, 53, is currently seen in No Time to Die with his love interest played by Lea Seydoux, 36 (pictured together)
Suicide Squad – 18 years
Jared Leto and Margot Robbie (pictured) played the Joker and Harley Quinn in the 2016 DC movie Suicide Squad – but there’s quite an age gap between the pair. With Robbie aged 26 at the time and Leto being 43
Page Eight – 20 years
Bill Nighy was 61-years-old when he played Johnny Worricker, a long-serving MI5 analyst, in the first of Sir David’s Worricker trilogy – while Rachel Weisz (pictured together), who portrayed his love interest, political activist Nancy Pierpan, was aged 41
Focus – 20 years
Margot Robbie played opposite Will Smith (pictured together) in the 2015 movie Focus. At the time, Robbie was just 26 years old, while Smith was 46
Edge of Tomorrow – 20 years
Tom Cruise, 59, regularly co-stars with actresses 20 years his junior – including Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow (pictured)
Mission: Impossile – Rogue Nation – 22 years
Tom Cruise again co-starred with an actress more than 20 years his junior when playing alongside Rebecca Ferguson in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (pictured)
Indecent Proposal – 26 years
The 1993 movie Indecent Proposal featured a 26-year age difference between Robert Redford, then 56, and Demi Moore (pictured together), aged 30 at the time
As Good As It Gets – 26 years
In As Good As It Gets (pictured), there was a 26-year age difference between Jack Nicholson, who was 60, and Helen Hunt, who was 34
Magic in the Moonlight – 28 years
There was a 28-year age gap between Colin Firth and Emma Stone in 2014’s Magic in the Moonlight (pictured)
Entrapment – 39 years
When Entrapment hit cinemas in 1999, Sean Connery was 68 years old, while Catherine Zeta-Jones was 29 (pictured together)
Next year, Jodie Comer, now 28, will be starring in historical drama The Last Duel, opposite Matt Damon, now 49.
Meanwhile, Tom Cruise, 59, regularly co-stars with actresses 20 years his junior, including Rebecca Ferguson in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow.
In 2016’s Suicide Squad, Jared Leto, who played The Joker, was aged 44, while Margot Robbie was 26 when playing his love interest former psychiatrist Harley Quinn.
Nicky Clark, who runs the Acting Your Age campaign to highlight the age difference on screen, told the publication: ‘As with Bond and the forthcoming The Last Duel… we’re being offered again and again the trope of old man, young wife.
‘What may be normalised in the film industry isn’t actually the case with audiences’ own relationships and it speaks to something a lot darker. The perceived sexual currency of a young woman still seems to be her biggest celluloid selling point.’
She continued: ‘Older women, if featured on screen at all, tend to be the adjunct to the male characters. In the main, their function is to be humourless, cautious, dangerous and difficult.’
However, Weisz previously defended the age gap in Page Eight, telling the Observer: ‘I’m not sure how old Bill is. Do you know? I’m 41. You need to Google it.
‘We’re not making out. There’s one very delicate kiss in the last frame of the film, which is incredibly tender.
‘They connect with their hearts and they have a great amount of empathy. Anyway, I think people of all sorts of different ages can get it on. It doesn’t bother me.’