72nd Cannes Film Festival - The amfAR's Cinema Against AIDS 2019 event - Antibes, France, May 23, 2019. Patricia Arquette poses. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Patricia Arquette on Hollywood’s sexist double standard for aging women: ‘Nobody minds if Jack Nicholson has a potbelly in a movie’

Patricia Arquette wishes there wasn’t a double standard when it comes to how older women — versus older men — are portrayed on-screen.

The actress, who’s up for two Emmys next month for playing real women in The Act and Escape at Dannemora, talked about downplaying her beauty for the parts. Both roles — abusive mom Dee Dee Blanchard and prison employee-turned-prisoner Joyce “Tilly” Mitchell — required Arquette to have make unders. Arquette said she’s embraced the opportunity to challenge the perception of women of a certain age —as well as the perception of female sexuality.

“We really haven’t heard the story — or even talked about — females being sexual beings if they don’t look a certain way,” Arquette, 51, told Deadline.

Arquette as Joyce “Tilly” Mitchell in Escape at Dannemora:

She continued, “Nobody minds if Jack Nicholson has a potbelly in a movie and is a sexual guy or a playboy,” referring to the mostly retired actor, now 82. “But it’s a different story when you have sexual women that don’t look a certain way. Of course, there are millions and millions of women who don’t have that ‘normal’ body type, who have sex and are sexual beings, but we act like there’s a meteor hitting the earth or something.”

Arquette as Dee Dee Blanchard in The Act:

Despite the awards Arquette’s been racking up in recent years, Arquette went on to admit that she feels pressure to look a certain way as a Hollywood star.

“It’s like, ‘We’ll hold you to it as long as humanly possible.’ And you go from being an ingénue to the beautiful, she’s-still-got-it-together mom. It’s really not that fun,” said Arquette, who plays 38-year-old Jake Hoffman’s mom in the Netflix film Otherhood.

However, she added, “Having said all that, I’m grateful to be an actor, and to have this opportunity to make a living acting. I know how rare it is. I’m certainly not complaining. I just really want to expand the artform and I want us to look at different stories.”

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