BBC

London

Hollywood’s ageist attitude to actresses is “antiquated, backward and discriminatory”, Jurassic World star Bryce Dallas Howard has said.

She was speaking after Maggie Gyllenhaal revealed she had been told she was “too old” at the age of 37 to play along with a 55-year-old man.

“It’s up to all of us to be vocal about it, speak out and work together towards solutions,” Howard, 34, told the BBC. She added she had not experienced discrimination in the industry herself.

“I haven’t yet experienced ageism - not that it’s inevitable, but I hope [the problem] shifts and shifts quickly,” she said. “Like any business there are things that work so well and are incredibly functional and very inspiring. And then there are... elements to this that are antiquated and backward and discriminatory. “Kudos to Maggie for speaking out because we need to end that - [her experience] is absolutely absurd.”

Howard, the daughter of director Ron Howard, has generally appeared opposite male leads in her own age bracket. She previously starred in 50/50, alongside 34-year-old Joseph Gordon-Levitt; and 2009’s Terminator Salvation opposite Christian Bale, who is 41. Her other roles include Oscar-nominated drama The Help and franchise films Spider-Man and Twilight.

The actress will next be seen in the Jurassic Park sequel - opposite 35-year-old Chris Pratt - due in cinemas next week. The issue of ageism against women in Hollywood has been the subject of numerous studies in the past few years.

A 2013 study by Vulture looked at 10 A-list Hollywood stars - including Tom Cruise, Liam Neeson, Harrison Ford and George Clooney - and plotted the age gaps of their notable love interests over the course of their career.

 It concluded while male stars were allowed to age into their 40s, 50s and 60s, female actresses remained generally under 40.

Media and technology website Vocative also analysed the 25 top-grossing films where the leading actor had a clear love interest, from 2010-15. It found as the actor grew older, the age gap between the stars and their leading actresses increased.