When Sharon Stone read the screenplay for her newest romcom, All I Wish, she was asked if she was interested in playing the mother of the protagonist. By the time she’d finished it, she’d had another idea. She called writer and director Susan Walter and said, “I think it would be more interesting if I play the daughter.”
Stone told Vanity Fair that “I just didn’t feel that having a 25-year-old woman who didn’t have her life together was that perilous. The stakes would be so much higher, and it would feel more important when the protagonist’s mom gets sick if we are older, because this is what happens in real life. This is the stuff we all really have to deal with, and think about, and come to terms with. I just feel there’s so much more comedy in the truth.”
Walter was convinced, and thanks to them we now have a romcom with a 60-year-old woman front and centre; a 60-year-old woman who is just as kooky and whimsical as the original 25-year-old character was supposed to be. Although Walter considered updating the script to make the character of Senna and the plot more “age appropriate”, Stone was against it. Therefore the film features Stone’s character, aspiring fashion designer Senna, having a one-night stand with a man whose name we don’t even learn, falling off her bed, competing in a beach-volleyball tournament in a bikini and – because, of course, this is a romcom – finding her happy ending with a man. Standard fare for a romcom with a typically klutzy lead woman in her twenties, but not something we often see older women doing on screen.
The lives and characters of women are as rich, varied and complicated as the lives and characters of men, but it’s rare that we get to see them presented as such on-screen
“Sharon said, ‘Don’t explain it. Just let these characters be vibrant and alive and sexy. Just do it!’” Walter explained. “Show people in their fifties doing amazing things, she said, and audiences will subconsciously take that on. Just by seeing Sharon on-screen doing these things, feeling these feelings, falling in love, being who she is, audiences will feel that way too.”
Stone added, “These are things that we actually do as normal people. Women don’t always have to act like a princess who sits on a sofa, wears nine-inch heels, and acts like a viper.”
The lives and characters of women are as rich, varied and complicated as the lives and characters of men, but it’s rare that we get to see them presented as such on-screen. It’s also rare that we get to see older woman in fun, interesting lead roles because ageism in Hollywood is rife. Fingers crossed, this will inspire a whole series of films and TV shows which reflect the true spectrum of how women live, at all stages in our lives.