80 for Brady ladies talk retirement, Tom Brady's acting, and kissing Harry Hamlin in EW's Around the Table
Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Lily Tomlin, and Rita Moreno have reached the end zone of their 80 for Brady press tour.
Sitting down with EW for our Around the Table feature, the famous foursome is feeling a little loopy, giggling, discussing what Oscar contenders they've seen (between them they've got five Oscars and many more nominations), and what they had for lunch. Their repartee sparkles on screen in the new comedy, in which they star as best friends determined to see their hero Tom Brady play in the Super Bowl.
Each a legend in her own right, the four women have come together to celebrate their latest film (in theaters Feb. 3), which is all about living life to the fullest and championing the bonds of female friendship. Read on as the Hollywood icons interview each other about working together on the new movie, covering everything from Greta Thunberg to kissing Harry Hamlin.
JANE FONDA: Lily and I were the first to come on. The producers figured we haven't worked together enough. [Laughs] We both thought this is a good idea, but who are the other parts going to be? Our wanting to do this depends on who the other two are. And we got lucky. But who was second?
SALLY FIELD: Well, that's when Jane called me. She and I had tried to work together several times, and it didn't happen. When she said it was Jane and Lily, I've been friends with them for many, many years. And then we learned it was Rita, and that was exciting!
RITA MORENO: It was pretty exciting for me too! I couldn't believe it. My agent called and said, "There's this movie and they want you." And I said, "Well, who's in it?" He came back with these amazing names. And I'm like, "C'mon, really?" And he said, "No, it's for real." So I said, "I'll look at the script, but the answer is yes no matter what."
LILY TOMLIN: The story is based on actual women that live in Boston, but we haven't got to meet any of them yet, right?
FONDA: No. But it's really nice that it's based on a true story.
FIELD: It's embellished because not all of that quite happened the way we did it. All of the hijinks of getting into the Super Bowl.
FONDA: Well, I go into a closet with Harry Hamlin while all of you have scenes that are hysterical. I've been in this business 60 years — how come I read the script and didn't recognize the fact that — "Wait a minute, these are a lot of funny scenes, and I'm in a f---ing closet with Harry Hamlin."
FIELD: It could be worse.
MORENO: I know a lot of women who'd love to be in a f---ing closet with Harry Hamlin.
FONDA: Well, yeah, at the time it was good. But when you see the movie, it's like, where am I?
FIELD: You are in there.
FONDA: I'm bearing my heart now. But Sally, that eating stuff you do, God! [Laughs] And Rita, when you get so stoned that you become Guy Fieri. That is so funny. But Sally is the only among us who knows much about football.
FIELD: I'm probably the biggest sports fan here. Even though Jane likes baseball, but probably not as much as I do.
TOMLIN: When do you have time to act or read a script or do anything else? The talk of you guys enmeshed in sports blows me away.
FIELD: You can do it, you can fit it all in! You can have a full and complete life, Lily, I swear.
FONDA: Actually, I don't think she could.
FONDA: Because when she's into something, it's like Greta Thunberg. It's 2000 percent intense involvement. So, if she got into football, we'd never see her again.
FIELD: That's like me and the Dodgers though.
TOMLIN: The only time I ever went to a Dodgers game was to see Helen Dell play the organ. She doubled for me whenever I played my cocktail organist [Bobbi-Jeanine].
FIELD: Say that slower, I don't think people heard what you said. You went to the Dodger game to listen to the organist.
FONDA: How did we strengthen our bond during filming?
FIELD: We tested all the bonds.
FONDA: No, we didn't do that. You tested the bonds and the rest of us are paying for it in the number of hours we have in, what's it called?
FONDA: [Laughs] No. When you have to redo all the sound because someone was talking.
FIELD: Oh, ADR. Did I do that? No, I did. But it's a kind of comedy that works. You just keep it going.
FIELD: Jane, you said you didn't have anything to do. That's just not true. Tell us about the whole Gronkowski scene. That's the one I wanted to be in.
FONDA: It was fun. I realized that Gronkowski, who was my wet dream in the movie, was reading the book my character wrote, Between a Gronk and a Hard Place. I pick it up and turn around, and I bump right into this guy. It wasn't in the script, but I just said, "You're so big." And his smile, when he says thank you with that dear smile, it gets a big laugh. But when I bumped into him, I was about two inches below his breastbone. Sally, you would've been at his kneecap.
MORENO: I spoke to his belt.
FIELD: And enjoyed every minute of it. [Laughs]
MORENO: Every. Minute.
TOMLIN: Sally, when you ate those hot wings—
FIELD: You were sitting there watching me.
TOMLIN: Were they really that hot?
FONDA: Do you want to say that?
FIELD: Oh boy, was it hot! They also don't need to know that I never really ate it. I took all those big bites, and the minute they said "cut," I spit it all out in a bucket. I had a big bucket full of half-eaten chicken.
FONDA: But you didn't hear that. When you had that scene, and you were chewing and talking to Guy Fieri, it was so funny I had to cross my legs.
FIELD: Well, you could've had that, and I'd have gone in the closet.
MORENO: To kiss Harry Hamlin.
FONDA: I'd love to be able to do that.
FIELD: You eat that chicken, and I'll be in the closet.
FONDA: Lily, we were all there when you shot the scene [with the pep talk to Tom Brady], and I never imagined that when I saw the movie, it would make me cry. But it did. I was so moved by that and—
TOMLIN: Could I have played Sybil?
FONDA: She's referring to having auditioned and wanted to play a role that won Sally an Emmy. It was called Sybil and was very brilliant. It's a woman with multiple personalities, it's known as schizophrenia.
TOMLIN: You don't have to tell everything. It's enough to say I wanted the part that she had done.
FIELD: But the truth of the matter is, Lily, you just nailed that sucker. That scene—
FONDA: That long speech that you give.
FIELD: And then also Tom was—
TOMLIN: Oh, he was right there.
MORENO: Tom was astonishing as an actor to all of us, certainly to me. There's something that actors are able to do or not, and that's listen. Now I know that seems like, "Listen? What do you mean listen? Of course, he listens." It's the way in which you listen and absorb what the other actor is saying. But he really nailed it.
FONDA: Yeah, but I'm talking about her nailing it. The speech that she made that changed everything.
TOMLIN: Maybe she has a different opinion.
FIELD: I don't think she does. She was the one that was crying when you were shooting.
TOMLIN: Anyway, what I think about that scene is how I prepared for the whole movie, which is that he was my son. I don't think of him sexually, being seduced by this large, perfect boy, man. But I thought of him as my son, which was more age appropriate. And then, I was going to his high school or college to see him play quarterback, and I gave him a pep talk. But I thought I totally failed it. I'm so pleased that Ms. Fonda was moved by it and some other people too. But I wasn't quite that taken with it.
FONDA: It's interesting to know what somebody has chosen for their work.
FIELD: Their subtext.
TOMLIN: I wanted to say in the speech and tried to get the director to let me say it, because it would've been totally a wonderfully comedic inspiration. I was going to say, "When the football player becomes the football."
FIELD: You've told us this line before, and you got the same cricket response that you're getting right now.
TOMLIN: I did film it a couple of times. I tried to throw it in.
FIELD: And it made no sense to me then.
FONDA: It made sense to me. It's like when an actor goes into those moments of when you become the character.
MORENO: When you become the character, exactly.
FONDA: When you become—
FIELD: The football.
FONDA: When you're reading a book, and you're not reading anymore, you become the book.
TOMLIN: When the dancer becomes the dance is the idea.
FIELD: I get it now.
TOMLIN: That's T.S. Eliot that originated that. Anyway, we've said how good an actor Tom was.
FIELD: He's good. I think we all feel Tom's good.
FONDA: Tom did what Tom was supposed to do.
TOMLIN: He's very sweet and considerate about how he's acting for you.
MORENO: When Lily does that long speech to him, and he is listening to it, it's like he's listening to it for the first time. That's what listening really means in acting terms. That you're hearing something for the very first time.
FONDA: That's very hard to do.
FIELD: Do you think like Tom we won't retire while we've still got it?
FONDA: The thing is that our "does she still have it?" is so dependent on what other people think.
FIELD: Also, athletes, it's a different world. It's contingent upon their body, being able to hold it together. I mean, our bodies are being held together by toothpicks right now.
FIELD: [Laughs] And titanium. We can still go on.
TOMLIN: Lou says, "Tom is 40 years old, that's almost 80 years in people."
FIELD: Actors have a different row to hoe, as it were.
TOMLIN: Well, we don't know how long the planet's going to last.
FONDA: It's not whether they like you or like me, it's whether they think I'm employable. Whether you can sell tickets.
FIELD: Well, there aren't any tickets hardly anymore.
FONDA: Do you go to movie theaters?
FIELD: Not so much. I have to say that very quietly.
MORENO: I love theaters!
FONDA: I go to theaters.
TOMLIN: How do you have time to do that and save the world?
FONDA: I read two books a week, and I see every movie.
MORENO: Not just every movie. You watch all the television shows. She was always coming to work saying, "My God, what a performance I saw last night."
FONDA: I live alone.
FIELD: She sleeps nine or 10 hours a night. I live alone, and I hardly sleep four hours a night, and I read one book a month.
FONDA: But you've got all those grandkids you pay attention to.
FIELD: That's true. But you have quite a passel.
FONDA: Mine are in college on the East Coast. So then I don't have to pay attention.
FIELD: Well, mine are too.
FONDA: But the idea of retiring—
MORENO: It's unthinkable.
FONDA: And do what? Play golf?
MORENO: Why would I want to retire? Unless because of age, I would have to. It's possible.
FONDA: Please go to a theater and see 80 For Brady. It's funny, and it's sad. We're working so hard.
FIELD: I need to go home and rest. I've got a book to read this month.