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SXSW: Sally Field tackles Hollywood ageism and sexism

The Oscar-winning actress returns to her comedy roots with 'Hello My Name is Doris'

Sally Field wowed audiences at SXSW with her star turn in director Michael Showalter's delightful "Hello My Name is Doris," playing an earnest wallflower who becomes the toast of Brooklyn hipster culture. It's a spritely comical role, and while Field of course got her start in more comedic fare, lately she's been leaning more toward the dramatic side. But, Field is quick to point out, that's not at all voluntary.

"How many times to I get offered comedic scripts? It isn't even that. How many times do I get offered anything worth considering, be it comedic or serious or anything? Welcome to the world," Field tells Metro.

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"There's an ageism thing all over the place. Certainly it isn't just about comedy and it isn't just about Hollywood," she explains. "It's certainly illustrated in Hollywood, but there's a derth — as I think maybe you've heard, correct me if you've heard this before — a derth of roles for women. And no roles for women of age that aren't just simply about being old, you know? It's not about your life or stages of life. So to find something like 'Doris' that's just so unique, that's really about people in different stages of their life who become friends, is wonderful."

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While he agrees with that assessment of the state of the industry, Showalter for his part thinks his star might be overlooking one crucial mitigating factor when it comes to analyzing the offers she's receiving. "I bet too with her there's people that wouldn't even consider [offering her a role]," he says. "They'd be like, 'Well she won't do it.' I'll bet there's an element of that. That she would seem unattainable."

For the record, Ms. Field would like everyone to know that she is in fact attainable — assuming the script is good enough.

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter:@nedrick

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