Maggie Gyllenhaal was left stunned when she was told she was too old to play the lover of a 55-year-old man.

The 37-year-old actress was astonished when a Hollywood producer rejected her for a role in a movie because after deeming her too advanced in age to accurately portray the guy's partner.

Maggie - who tactfully did not name the production company or her proposed co-star - told magazine The Wrap: ''There are things that are really disappointing about being an actress in Hollywood that surprise me all the time. I'm 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55. It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made me feel angry, and then it made me laugh.''

The 'Dark Knight' star added that even after the negative experience, she is hopeful that Hollywood will become a better place for women: ''A lot of actresses are doing incredible work right now, playing real women, complicated women. I don't feel despairing at all. And I'm more looking with hope for something fascinating.''

Hollywood is renowned for casting young women against much older men although new James Bond Movie 'Spectre' won praise for casting 50-year-old actress Monica Bellucci opposite lead star Daniel Craig, 47.

Oscar nominated Maggie - who has two children with her actor husband Peter Sarsgaard - found fame when she was cast alongside her brother Jake Gyllenhaal in the indie cult film 'Donnie Darko'.