Mary Steenburgen on movies with legends and living life well

Mary Steenburgen would like to set the record straight. No, she has not read the entire “Fifty Shades of Grey” book. “I’m still an adolescent at heart,” the Oscar winner says. “I just read all the naughty bits!”

The same can’t be said for her character in new film “Book Club,” who along with girlfriends (Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Diane Keaton), do read “Fifty Shades” in its entirety and find their mojo for life and love again. Steenburgen plays Carol, whose husband (Craig T. Nelson) would rather work on his motorcycle than pay attention to his wife.

In real life, the 65-year-old Arkansas native, actress and songwriter says that life does not imitate art. She has been married to actor Ted Danson since 1995. Why does it work? You can ask him. “I’m married to Mary Steenburgen,” Danson says. “That’s why it works. I love her willingness to say yes. She leaps off the tall buildings of life. I love her sense of right and wrong. I don’t know if you’re supposed to say this when you’re 70, but she’s very sexy.”

Review-Journal: What is a typical Sunday like at your home in Los Angeles?

Steenburgen: We’re real homebodies. Ted loves to sculpt and I write music. Sundays are also for watching a movie, talking and spending time together with family.

You filmed “Last Vegas” in Vegas a few years ago. Do you have fond memories of being in town?

It was a delicious time in my life. There I was with Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline and Robert DeNiro in Las Vegas. I played a Vegas lounge singer and I love music. For the past 11 years, I’ve been on a musical journey including writing music. When I filmed “Last Vegas,” I was able to sing one of my own original songs.

You had four strong women in your movie. For once the tabloids didn’t conjure up fights on the set.

Egos were checked at the door. We knew it was lightning in a bottle to have four women our age as leads in a summer movie where we weren’t playing someone’s bizarre mother-in-law.

What’s one big message from this movie?

The importance of female friendships.

Your character is in a long-term marriage where he doesn’t notice her anymore.

I know that marriages go through different stages. I’m lucky mine has been pretty amazing, but I do talk to people who throughout the years say that they aren’t as close to their mate as they were.

Did you know your costars before filming?

We had never worked together — any of us. There were no crossovers although I believe a few of us had been married professionally to Craig T. Nelson over the years in various projects.

Describe the first time all of you were in a room.

We went to Candice’s house where we met as a group for the first time. It wasn’t too long before we found the common ground.

Who is the leader? Best cook? Most in your face?

Jane is the leader. We still text and vacation together and eat dinner at each other’s houses. She makes sure we keep the vow to stay in touch. As for best cook, I think the ladies would say me because I love to cook. Diane is the style guru. She’s brilliant. Candice is most traveled and combines worldliness with a fierce intellect.

Do you believe that age is just a number?

It’s funny that when we’re younger and want to try something, we’re told “just do it.” Then at some weird age, everyone stops saying that to you. You stop saying it to yourself. It’s like society agreed on the death of the soul and that it should come before the death of the body. I started writing music in 2007, which some might call late in life. It’s such an important part of my life now, but I had struggles in the beginning when I began to say that I wanted to write music. People thought it was a crazy idea. My point is that you need to say yes to things at every age. That’s not a crazy idea. It’s also the message of this movie, which is we will all eventually die. But do you want to die while you’re still living?

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