Mary Steenburgen: ‘We have ugly words for successful female actors’

The star on industry prejudice, female friendship and why ageing is so appealingBook Club is a film that’s not really about a book club, it’s about four women, friends of very long standing, with no real need of a conceit to bring them together.

“It’s deeply unusual,” says Mary Steenburgen, “to see four female leads, and it’s almost unheard of to see four leads over the age of 65.

It’s rare even for young women get that opportunity, period.

We kept being shocked that we were actually getting to do it.”Steenburgen, herself barely 65, is speaking down the line from California.

The youngest (by seven years) and the most arthouse of the strikingly premium cast, her career has not followed the regular arc: a blast of young fame, a period of obscurity, then a partial reprise for mum roles.

She is remembered for The Help

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