×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Book Club’ Team Talks ‘Fifty Shades’ Inspiration, Showing ‘Real Women’ at Premiere

Book Club,” the new romantic comedy starring Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen, all started with “an inappropriate Mother’s Day gift.”

Director Bill Holderman, who also produced and co-wrote the film, told Variety at the Los Angeles premiere that he gifted the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy to his mother several years ago “as a good son would.” “I thought that was crazy, so I sent it to my mother and my step mother,” added co-writer Erin Simms. “We got to talking about our moms and the different perspectives on aging and the conversation led to this idea.”

The movie centers on four older women who read “Fifty Shades” as part of their monthly book club and are inspired to improve their dating and sex lives. The premiere, held Sunday at the Regency Village Theatre, welcomed the four leading ladies, as well as co-stars Andy Garcia, Craig T. Nelson, Don Johnson, Richard Dreyfuss and Ed Begley Jr.

As both a romantic comedy and a film starring multiple actresses over 60, “Book Club” marks the type of movie that is rarely seen in Hollywood, aiming for an audience of women and older viewers.

Steenburgen was attracted to the story as “all four parts were whole and interesting women and different, very different from each other. It said a lot about friendship and about being my age, which is 65, and owning it and enjoying it and claiming that as a woman in every single way. I loved that.”

She said this film was also important for young people “to have something to look forward to in life. You might not be like any of the women in this movie but hopefully you will want to be alive every minute of your life. So many people, certainly in terms of the movie life we look at, women our age are invisible or they’re some eccentric loon that comes in and says hello now and then. These are real women.”

Bergen was drawn to the project for a similar reason. She said when she first read the script, she thought “it was honest and very real and true about women’s friendships and the importance of women’s friendships.” She added, “I thought the sex was handled very tastefully but also had juice to it, considering the age of the people doing it.”

Steenburgen’s character is in a marriage slump after 35 years, while Keaton’s character is recently widowed. Bergen’s character is still getting over her divorce from decades earlier, and Fonda’s character is playing the field, refusing to settle down.

Fonda said she was initially concerned that “it was too much about sex, but then I decided that Diane Keaton was already attached and I really wanted to work with her and get to know her. We worked with the two writers, they were very open to our input. I think all of us working together in collaboration were able to deepen our characters a little.” Fonda admitted she cried three times the first time she saw it.

“Book Club” hits theaters May 18.

POPULAR ON VARIETY:

More Scene

  • Director Peter JacksonWarner Bros. Pictures THEY

    Peter Jackson Talks Transition From 'Hobbit' Movies to World War I Documentary

    Peter Jackson remains a bit astounded at his transition four years ago from the Shire of Middle Earth to the French battlefields of World War I. Jackson introduced his documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old” Friday night at the Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood, four weeks after it aired on Armistice Day on the BBC. [...]

  • Hillary Clinton'Network' play opening night, New

    Hillary Clinton Attends Opening of Broadway's 'Network'

    A 1976 film might not be expected to translate seamlessly to Broadway in 2018, but for the cast and creative team behind “Network,” which premiered Thursday night with Hillary Clinton in the audience, the story still feels uncomfortably close to home. “It was a satire then, and now it’s documentary realism,” said Lee Hall, who [...]

  • Children's Defense Fund

    Angela Bassett, Conan O'Brien Honor Young Students at Children's Defense Fund Gala

    Awards season may be right around the corner, but on Thursday, Hollywood took a break from the glitz and glam to celebrate five high school students who have excelled academically despite facing extreme adversity both at home and in the classroom. The 29th annual Beat the Odds Awards ceremony at the Skirball Cultural Center featured [...]

  • Dolly Parton attends the world premiere

    Dolly Parton Hopes to Perform 'Dumplin'' Song at the Golden Globes

    It’s not easy to upstage Jennifer Aniston. But everyone at Thursday night’s premiere of her new Netflix flick, “Dumplin’,” seemed to be singing the praises of Dolly Parton, who earlier in the day received a Golden Globe nomination for “Girl in the Movies,” one of half a dozen new songs she wrote for the film. [...]

  • Lena WaitheVariety's Power of Women, Arrivals,

    Who Lena Waithe Thinks Should Replace Kevin Hart as Oscar Host

    Lena Waithe thinks Kevin Hart could have handled his Oscar debacle in a much better way. “I kind of wish that he would have taken a moment to let it be a teachable moment and to say, ‘Hey, what I said wasn’t right and I want to make that right,’ not just to keep the [...]

  • Christie Brinkley32nd Annual Footwear News Achievement

    Christie Brinkley at 64: 'Women My Age Cannot Allow the Numbers to Define Them'

    Christie Brinkley may be turning 65 next year, but don’t you dare try to tell her what she should — or shouldn’t — wear. “I think women my age cannot allow the numbers to define them. We need to constantly redefine the number,” Brinkley told Variety on Tuesday at the Footwear News Achievement Awards in New [...]

  • Gerard Butler, Haim Saban and Cheryl

    Why Haim and Cheryl Saban's $50 Million Donation to Academy Museum Almost Didn't Happen

    Haim and Cheryl Saban’s $50 million donation has landed them their name on the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures building on Miracle Mile in Los Angeles, but the billionaire philanthropists’ contribution to the project almost didn’t happen. During Tuesday’s unveiling of the restored exterior of the new Saban Building (formerly the historic May Company department [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content