If you woke up this morning feeling a bit off, there’s a pretty good explanation for it. Beloved actress and comedienne (a word I detest, but in this case it feels fitting) Cameron Diaz has reportedly retired from acting. The world is now without her whimsy and wisecrack. Well, we’ve been without it since 2014 when she last starred in a film, but are just now being made aware of it. In a recent interview her close friend Selma Blair let the news slip. When asked if she’d consider a The Sweetest Thing sequel, she said “I would have liked to do a sequel, but Cameron’s retired from acting, She’s like, ‘I’m done.’”
Cameron Diaz was synonymous with the '90s rom-com. She was the carefree blonde protagonist of the decade, starting her career with The Mask and solidifying it My Best Friend’s Wedding and There’s Something About Mary. In the early 2000’s she starred in Charlie’s Angels and the critically acclaimed Gangs of New York. She went on to voice the ogress Fiona in the Shrek franchise, a career move that in 2008 ranked her as Forbes’ richest female celebrity. But post-Shrek, a series of flops like the 2014 remake of Annie felt like a quiet yet notable downturn in her career. There's a very distinct feel to the moment when an actress who was once a leading lady suddenly transitions (ages?) into Ms. Hannigan territory. I’ll maintain that that passage was made too early and her Hannigan was less wrathful hasbeen and more washed up trust fund kid (ultimately bad casting.) Plus, having Diaz follow legendary character actor Carol Burnett felt incredibly unfair.
Despite having been in so many culturally pivotal movies, Diaz has never won nor been nominated for an Academy Award. She received four Golden Globe nominations but again no wins. Typically, the genre she excelled in—raunchy, female-led comedies—don’t gather up awards. But many other leading ladies from her generation found themselves in more weighty roles. Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Reese Witherspoon, who all nabbed Academy Awards for Best Actress, started out in very similar roles as Diaz. As the popularity of rom-coms weaned, so did the space Diaz took up in the Hollywood landscape.
Perhaps Diaz’s retirement is in part due to the admittedly less-limited, but still rather narrow, options for aging actresses. Hollywood hasn’t figured out how to write the bubbly and fun 45-year-old woman who is innately so and not because she’s rebounding from a harried divorce. Hollywood knows what to do with bubbly and fun when you're 25, but after that it's like a game of hot potato with aging actresses. Writers and studios are frantically grappling with who to pass them off to. Of course, there's the very likely reality she is pulling a Daniel Day-Lewis and genuinely done with acting. She's more than capable of saying "fuck it" to the industry. Plus, if her 2013 and 2016 healthy lifestyle books are any indication, she might be looking to go full Goop on us.