Meryl Streep, Vanity Fair‘s cover girl for December and the star of “It’s Complicated” with Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, is a “new box-office queen.” VF reports that her 2008 musical, “Mamma Mia!,” grossed $601 million worldwide, 2008′s “The Devil Wears Prada” grossed $324 million, and this year’s “Julie & Julia” has already grossed $121 million. At 60, Streep is practically dead in actress years. Could it be that Hollywood starlets don’t need to be under 30 to be commercially viable?Streep isn’t naive—she realizes her career is pretty much a one-in-a-million blessing as far as actresses her age are concerned. “It’s incredible—I’m 60, and I’m playing the romantic lead in romantic comedies,” she told Bennetts during their interview. While older actresses like Diane Keaton, Blythe Danner, Mia Farrow and Judi Dench are still cast in roles, none of those women get really great roles like Streep does. Maybe Hollywood will finally get a clue that audiences won’t recoil in horror if older women are cast as leads. Perhaps studios will start to green-light some flicks that star actresses other than sexpots and girl-next-door types? Because, let’s not kid ourselves: Just because Streep is a wildly successful middle-aged thespian doesn’t mean the livin’ is easy for the thousands of other aging actresses out there.
Still, I’m doubtful my generation will see gray-haired actresses with wrinkles have leading-lady careers as successful as aging male actors like Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino, Woody Allen, and George Clooney. While it’s great that Streep’s 60-year-old mug is on the cover of Vanity Fair, her baby-smooth skin (or perhaps that’s the work of a deft Photoshopper?) probably helped. [Vanity Fair]