She may not so easily recognizable by name, but you'd almost certainly recognize the face: 52-year-old actress, writer, and director Famke Janssen has been working the Hollywood scene for over three decades now with a list of impressive performances attached to her resume. With successful films like Goldeneye and the Taken series, an iconic role as Jean Grey in the original X-Men trilogy, and notable roles on television in Nip/Tuck, How to Get Away with Murder, Hemlock Grove, and The Blacklist, Janssen has had a career unlike most leading ladies who currently grace our screens.
With 2017 vastly approaching, there are several new projects attached to the statuesque actress that we're definitely looking forward to in the new year. With upcoming roles that break the barrier for older women in Hollywood, Janssen continues to defy ageism and typecasting restrictions. Let's take a look at what she's got in store:
1. This Is Your Death (Dobre Films)
- Release Date: TBA
This indie feature is the directorial debut from Once Upon A Time, The Maze Runner, and Money Monster star Giancarlo Esposito. This film, much in the vein of Joss Whedon's Cabin In The Woods, takes an unsettling look at the future of reality TV. It follows the story of a disturbing game show where contestants end their lives for public enjoyment. Janssen will co-star in this feature with Josh Duhamel and Esposito. Janssen will portray the executive Ilana Katz, who runs the show, while Duhamel will take on the role of the charismatic and charming host. Esposito will be one of the show's unfortunate contestants.
- Significance: Famke will be taking on the position of power. She'll be in charge of how the game is played and who plays it.
2. Once Upon A Time In Venice (Voltage Pictures)
- Release Date: TBA
Not much is known about this comedy feature other than it stars Bruce Willis as a Los Angeles detective who tracks down the ruthless gang who stole his dog. The project has been completed for some time but has no release date set. Game Of Thrones veteran Jason Mamoa will also co-star along with Silicon Valley's Thomas Middlechurch. Janssen is rumored to be playing the love interest of Willis' character. The film is directed by brothers Mark and Rob Cullen, who famously worked with Bruce Willis previously in the 2010 Kevin Smith comedy, Cop Out.
- Significance: Normally with a film like this, executives would try to match Willis with an actress no older than her mid-thirties to play his love interest. With Janssen being in her early fifties, it shows a great change in attitude towards what roles older women can play.
3. The Blacklist: Redemption (Sony Pictures Television)
- Release Date: Midseason 2017
Reprising her role from The Blacklist, Janssen will co-star alongside Ryan Eggold who plays Tom Keen in the flagship series. This show will tackle the daily activities of Susan "Scottie" Hargrave (Janssen), a brilliant and cunning chief of a covert mercenary organization that solves dangerous and complicated problems even the government won't touch. We saw a brief glimpse of what the series will entail during a backdoor pilot that aired back in May. The series will also explore the complicated relationship between Tom Keen (Eggold) and Hargrave, whom Tom has just come to know is his biological mother, a fact Hargrave is presumably unaware of.
- Significance: Famke's character is not only the head of her own clandestine corporation in this new series, but per Janssen's request, Susan Hargrave will be considered the equivalent to James Spader's Raymond Reddington in respect to intelligence, prowess, influence and international power.
- Hollywood Ageism Declines As TV Holds Strong For Women Over 40
- 6 Times Famke Janssen Proved She's A Total Badass
- Famke Janssen: Hollywood's Next Best Shining Superstar?
Along with these projects, Janssen has several others in the early stages of development. These include a French language film called Mes trésors (My Treasures), an espionage thriller with John Cusack titled American Undercover, a modern take on Tom Hanks' Big and a Hitchcockian thriller called Every Good Boy Does Fine. Fans of the Dutch-born actress certainly won't enter 2017 wanting for anything as this Hollywood hot shot brings a new movement and a new voice to the fight to end gender inequality.