Jane Fonda has branded ageism in Hollywood “alive and well” after studio bosses wanted younger stars to front a movie instead of her and fellow Oscar-winner Diane Keaton.
The women star alongside Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen in Book Club, a film about four older friends who reinvigorate their sex lives after reading Fifty Shades Of Grey.
But the film’s creators resorted to making it independently after they said executives told them they would only produce the movie if the characters were younger.
Speaking in Los Angeles, Steenburgen said it was a “miracle” that it ever got made, while 80-year-old Fonda added that it was an example of age discrimination’s prevalence in Hollywood.
Director Bill Holderman said studios had applied a “tremendous amount of pressure” to reduce the ages of the characters to their late 40s, despite pitching the two widely-recognisable stars.
Keaton, 72, who won an Academy Award for Annie Hall, said it demonstrates the difficulties faced by older women in the industry and in other fields.
Steenburgen described Book Club as a “quietly subversive and revolutionary” act.
Candice Bergen, 71, said that snubs for Fonda and Keaton tells other older women to get “a day job”.
Book Club will be released in UK cinemas on June 1.