There’s an old adage that age is just a number, but for decades, that didn’t ring true in Hollywood. While men were able to escape ageism and garner roles usually reserved for younger actors – that didn’t really happen for women until recently. Slowly, but surely, especially in sci-fi & fantasy, we’ve started to witness a shift in the roles offered to older actors. Whereas in the past someone might have been relegated to a grandparent, hermit, or throwaway character to be killed off or forgotten early – we’re now seeing both older women & men garner roles and recognition in genre movies & TV that show them as desirable, fierce & viable despite their advancing years.
So our task for this piece – choosing our favorite sci-fi & fantasy actors who are closer in age to ourselves (we’re in our mid forties) who have not only a history of excelling in the genre, but are still charging forth in exciting roles & gaining accolades. We used the generally accepted Generation X age range of people born between 1964 and 1980 to help cull down the list, else we’d be here forever! Have some of your faves made the list? Check out five picks below and tune into The Blurred Nerds Podcast Episode 213, dropping August 22 at 11 am – to catch the remaining five choices. Who are your favorites? Let us know in the comments! On to our picks:
Lena Headey: Age 46. Genre roles: Game of Thrones, Dredd, 300, Merlin, The Adventurer: Curse of the Midas Box, The Brothers Grimm, Sarah Connor Chronicles, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. Voice actor in: Wizards, Infinity Train, Uncle Grandpa, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Trollhunters, Danger Mouse, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV and Dishonored.
Things you may have forgotten she was In: Ripley’s Game, The Remains of The Day and The Jungle Book.
Lena is best known for portraying Cersei Lannister on HBO’s Game of Thrones from 2011-2019, but she has a long resume of Sci Fi & Fantasy roles. Catching my attention in 300 as Queen Gorgo, she quickly became an actress whose work I wanted to follow. Perhaps the role that solidified me as a fan was that of Sarah Connor in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. While that became another show canceled way too soon by Fox, she managed to leave her mark on the role of Connor while portraying a believable and fierce mother in an impossible situation. Two years later she would debut as Cersei Lannister, once again imbuing a ferocious & loyal mother while also proving to be an unexpected throne competitor. 2012 saw her take on Madeline “Ma-Ma” Madrigal in Dredd – another badass, take no prisoners, doesn’t care what anyone thinks & will do what she wants, damn the consequences woman. Not only has she left an indelible mark in the genre world already – but we’ve got plenty more of it to look forward to! We’ll hopefully soon see her in upcoming projects such as Twist, Gunpowder Milkshake as well as voicing the character of Evil-Lyn in Masters of The Universe: Revelation.
Milla Jovovich: Age 44. Genre roles: Resident Evil, Hellboy, The Fifth Element, Paradise Hills, Future World, Ultraviolet, The Fourth Kind, The Three Musketeers and voice actor for: Robot Chicken, King of the Hill and A Warrior’s Tail.
Things you may have forgotten she was In: Zoolander 1 & 2 and Dazed & Confused.
Regular listeners of The Blurred Nerds Podcast know well my love of Milla and the Resident Evil movie series. I watch them all, over & over, defend them constantly and absolutely adore Milla as Alice. The Fifth Element might have placed her firmly in the geek hearts of many, but for me, her turn as Alice cemented her in my fandom brain permanently. “Leeloo Dallas! Multipass!” Perhaps it is the way she throws herself full force into genre roles or how refreshingly candid she has been in real life about her struggles as a child actress, finding her voice growing up and how she learned to choose which roles she would take – there’s just something about her that makes me want to delve into every project she undertakes. I highly suggest checking her out in Alex Winter’s HBO documentary Showbiz Kids. While not every movie has been great: Future World and Paradise Hills aren’t films I’ll really ever find myself wanting to watch again, but the parts she played in them were highlights of the flicks and made them worth the time I invested. Successful model, actress, fashion line creator, singer, and now owner of her production company, Creation Entertainment – Milla’s career continues to be on the rise. Upcoming projects to look forward to include Monster Hunter and Hummingbird.
Jason Momoa: Age 41. Genre roles: Games of Thrones, Aquaman, Justice League, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, See, Conan the Barbarian, Debug, and The Bad Batch.
Things you may have forgotten he was in: Baywatch: Hawaii, Stargate Atlantis.
Jason Momoa came onto the scene in Baywatch: Hawaii mostly in swim trunks to the delight of thirsty ladies and men everywhere. He got a break being cast in Stargate Atlantis as Ronon Dex, a former soldier whose planet was destroyed by a life sucking enemy, the Wraith. His popularity exploded with his turn as the violent Dothraki King Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones’ 1st season. He followed that up with smaller parts in the action thriller Bullet to the Head and sci-fi thrillers Debug, and The Bad Batch. All of his characters were imbued with his Samoan-Hawaiian swagger, stoic, man of few words, laid back nature, and a gentleness hiding primal ferocity under the surface. Jason is one of The Geekfather’s favorites who he has actually met in person. He can attest that Jason Momoa is every bit of charming, kind, funny, gentle, handsome, and gargantuan as advertised. He shot to mega-stardom with his role in Aquaman as Arthur Curry, lost son and eventual King of Atlantis. Known as much for his knee buckling heartthrob roles where his shirt always seems to find a way to come off as he is for being a devoted husband to Lisa Bonet and doting father to their children, Jason looks to be the new action star soon to be on par with the likes of Schwarzenegger, Stallone, and Willis. You can catch him in the new Apple TV show See, the upcoming Denis Villeneuve remake of Frank Herbert’s classic Dune, and the Zack Snyder Cut of Justice League.
Karl Urban. Age: 48. Genre roles: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Chronicles of Riddick, Doom, Star Trek, Dredd, Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Trek Beyond, Pete’s Dragon, Thor: Ragnarok, The Boys
Things you may have forgotten he’s in: Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Almost Human
Judging by the prolific list of movies and tv shows above, you’ve no doubt seen Karl Urban in something you consider your favorite sci-fi movie. Whether wonderfully sneering, grunting, and murdering his way through Peach Trees as Judge Dredd or cracking wise as the Vulcan doubting Dr. Leonard McCoy, Karl Urban is perhaps one of the most recognizable actors in the sci-fi and fantasy genre living today. In fact, it was his turn as the iconic and legendary Dr. McCoy, a role owned by the late DeForest Kelly, that really put him on the sci-fi and fantasy stalwarts list. He can bring a quiet seriousness to his characters like Eomer in LOTR or a sarcastic, assholish, acerbic wit like Billy Butcher in The Boys. His thick New Zealander accent adds so much to the roles where he is allowed to use it, but he’s just as adept at dropping the accent if the role calls for it. Karl Urban is the kind of actor that when you hear he is in something, you are interested right away. He is in the type of movies that if they show up on TV, you’re watching it. That shows he selects his roles well. You can see him in the upcoming season 2 of The Boys releasing September 4th.
Keanu Reeves. Age: 55. Genre roles: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Johnny Mnemonic, Chain Reaction, The Devil’s Advocate, The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Constantine, A Scanner Darkly, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Replicas.
Animation/Voice roles: The Animatrix, Toy Story 4, Spongebob Squarepants The Movie: Spongebob on the Run.
Things you may have forgotten he’s in: The Bad Batch, Dangerous Liasions, 47 Ronin, Man of Tai-Chi .
Did I say that Karl Urban was prolific? Oops! Keanu Reeves filmography in the sci-fi and fantasy genre alone is larger than many actors’ entire catalog of films. His filmography literally has its own separate page on Wikipedia He may very well be the most prominent and sought after actor in not only science fiction and fantasy, but action as well. Keanu started his career in things such as an episode of the Canadian show Hangin’ In and a Coca-Cola commercial. He did a lot of work in television movies and shows until he did his first film, Youngbloods, where he played a goalie on a hockey team, but he was etched indelibly into the pop-culture memory of the world as Theodore “Ted” Logan in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. He then surprised everyone when he became a bankable action star starting with Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break and continuing that momentum with Speed. In between, let’s not forget, he was in Bram Stoker’s Dracula as Jonathan Harker. He did Johnny Mnemonic, which was possibly a spiritual predecessor to the movie that eventually put him into action star Valhalla — The Matrix. His turn as Neo in this 1999 sci-fi cult and popular classic and its sequels made him the type of star that is recognizable by one name. Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Sigourney, Willis, Keanu. Now that he was a superstar, he had the freedom to do any role he wished. He used that freedom to do movies such as 2005’s Constantine and 2006’s A Scanner Darkly. He spent about the next decade doing passion projects and living a relaxed life until he was cast as John “Babayaga” Wick, an assassin with a good heart and ridiculous gun skills in the unheralded John Wick. The unexpected and gargantuan success of that movie and its sequels gave a resurgence to an already legendary career.
Now, at 55, having lived through amazing successes and unfathomable tragedies, Keanu is as bankable a star more now than ever. He also uses his immense fame and status for philanthropic causes such as Stand Up to Cancer and he started a private cancer foundation in honor of his sister and her battle with leukemia. His list of accomplishments besides his acting could go on forever — entrepreneur, author, producer, director, custom motorcycle designer, and all around fantastic human being–that we could be here all day. Let’s just say Keanu Reeves is a national treasure and he isn’t even American! You can catch him next in Bill & Ted Face the Music, out August 28th, the upcoming sci-fi video game Cyberpunk 2077, releasing in November 2020, and John Wick 4 coming in 2022.
There you have it! You want to hear the rest? Then tune in to The Blurred Nerds Podcast episode 213 to find out.