'The First Time' With Mary Steenburgen - Rolling Stone
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‘The First Time’ With Mary Steenburgen

Actress talks about filming Book Club and Happiest Season

Mary Steenburgen has been a Hollywood actress for close to five decades now, but younger audiences might know her best from Book Club, the 2018 rom-com she starred in alongside fellow veteran actresses Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, and Candice Bergen. On Rolling Stone‘s The First Time, Steenburgen described how the shoot was both a bonding experience for the four women and a surprisingly challenging one.

“I remember there was a scene with Jane Fonda where she’s heartbroken about a man — we pick her up off the bed, take off her robe, and fix her makeup. It was my job to put the wrap dress on Jane Fonda, which you don’t want that job because Jane Fonda’s waist is that big,” she said, holding up a finger. “And you’ve gotta wrap it like twenty-five thousand times…”

Nevertheless, she and her three counterparts were “instantly a team” during the shoot. “We adored each other, we still do, we text and communicate with each other all the time. I’m blown away by them as women, as activists — our darling Jane spent the year going to D.C. and having her Fire Drill Fridays and really calling attention to climate change. They’re all amazing, magnificent women.”

Steenburgen stars in the new holiday rom-com movie Happiest Season, where she plays the mother to Mackenzie Davis’ character. She actually decided to act in the movie before she even read the script, thanks to a letter sent to her by director and co-screenwriter Clea DuVall, who described wanting to make a Christmas rom-com that centered a queer couple.

“She said, ‘One of my favorite genres of movies are holiday movies where there’s perhaps some romantic couple at the center of it, and where there’s family all around, but I’ve never seen myself in any of them,'” Steenburgen recalled. “When I realized that there had never been a holiday movie that had a gay couple at the center of it, then I knew that I was gonna do the movie.”

Happiest Season will be released November 25th on Hulu.


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