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Mary Steenburgen talks 'Book Club,' 'Fifty Shades' and her friendship with Hillary Clinton

The actress had a lot of fun filming her new comedy.
Book Club Mary Steenburgen
From left: Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen in "Book Club." Photo by Paramount Pictures

Hollywood legends Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen finally unite on screen in "Book Club," an upcoming comedy about a group a friends who try to rekindle their love lives after reading "Fifty Shades."

The press tour for the new film recently brought Steenburgen to Boston, which was a treat for the Academy Award-winning actress since she has a lot of love for the New England area. Steenburgen and her husband, former "Cheers" star Ted Danson, have become enamored with the region over the years as they have a family home on Martha's Vineyard.

"I love coming in the spring and in the autumn even more than the summer because it's quiet," Steenburgen tells Metro. "We're very much in love with this part of the country."

Ahead, Steenburgen opens up about her experience filming "Book Club," her thoughts on "Fifty Shades" as well as her friendship with Hillary Clinton.

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It seems like you and the rest of the cast had a blast making "Book Club." Do you believe it's important for Hollywood to showcase the older generation just having fun more often?

Do you want to look forward to a future of insignificance or do you want to look forward to having fun? They call us "women of a certain age," and I always say, "Can you name that age?" At what age did I become irrelevant as a human being? At what age do I not what to have fun, or scare myself or try something new or fall flat on my face or dance in front of people or whatever it is that makes you super alive? I think it's something that really seriously needs to be questioned. If movies are supposed to be a reflection of our society and of our lives then that needs to be in the mix.

Mary Steenburgen Hillary Clinton Book Club

You guys drink a lot of faux vino in the film. Who did you enjoy sharing a glass with the most?

I can't pick a favorite among those ladies. I kind of love us as a group. I'm the tequila drinker in the group. Jane is the dirty martini. Candice and Diane have really weird wine habits of like red wine with ice and a little water in it, which is so strange given that Candice spent a lot of time in Europe.

Did you actually read "Fifty Shades" for the movie and if so, what did you think of the book?

I skimmed the book for naughty bits. I wasn't going to make a bigger commitment... It's definitely a sexy book, and probably good for people in a weird way in that maybe it caused people to be slightly more open sexually in terms of talking or communicating. I don't know. If you need that, that's good. I've always just been pretty comfortable that way. But Jane says that it's good for America. Jane read the whole thing.

Do you have a favorite book recommendation?

I read a book called "Dear Madam President" by Jennifer Palmieri. I loved the book. The subtitle is, "An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World." It really talks about all the things that are different about a woman running for political office that even those of us who care about such things and feel that's a good thing might not realize. Having had one of my closest friends run for president, I did see a lot of these things. Jennifer was Hillary's communications director. It's just a little book, but there were some really stunning insights there.

What was your biggest takeaway from that book?

One of the things she talked about, and I experienced this, is that when Hillary made her concessions speech, there were people that said, "Where was that Hillary all along?" It's like, OK, you're really comfortable with a woman conceding, but what you're saying is that when a woman is in there fighting for something, it makes you uncomfortable. I cannot tell you the number of people who suggested to me that I needed to suggest to my friend how to speak. These are people who were for her. I think there's a lot that has to grow before this is just going to be easy for a woman. I think history will be kind and see that more clearly.

"Book Club" opens in theaters May 18.