Ellen Burstyn is a film legend, and at the age of 90, she said she is more in demand now that her peers have all already “died.”
The “Exorcist: Believer” star, who is returning to the franchise 50 years after William Friedkin’s original film, told her “Law and Order: Organized Crime” co-star Christopher Meloni during a conversation interview magazine that it was “bizarre” how busy she was in her later years.
“This is so bizarre. “I’ll be 91 in December and I’m as busy as I can ever remember being in my career,” Burstyn said. “And I don’t understand it at all. I mean, what’s the deal with ageism in Hollywood? How could I stay out of this?”
She continued, “I don’t know, except maybe everyone else who could play those roles has already died, so I’m the only actress still alive who can play the great-grandmother or something.”
Over the course of her half-century on screen, Burstyn revealed that her approach to acting has always been the same: “My benchmark for every moment in a scene is, ‘Is this real to me?'” said the “Mom, Couch” actor. Star. “This is my training. That’s what I strive for. If I ever feel like I’m wrong, it’s like I’m eating spoiled food or something, it’s just crazy. So I protect myself from ever feeling this by being as open as possible. I know my guide is to be authentic and not fake.”
Burstyn announced her return to The Exorcist franchise in 2021 as part of a three-film deal with Blumhouse and Universal, with David Gordon Green writing and directing. Green, who also rebooted the “Halloween” franchise for Universal, said A frame Convincing Burstyn to come back inspired him to make the script “worth something.”
“As someone trying to honor the original film, it’s a huge relief to have someone who I don’t necessarily ask for permission but who can hold my hand when I enter sacred territory,” Green said. “If there’s one hand I want to hold here, it’s Ellen Burstyn’s.”
He continued: “At first she was very skeptical. Her immediate response was, “Hell no.” I think people approached her a lot about sequels, so I said, “If you don’t want to be in my movie, at least be my friend.” We ended up talking about my intentions and the story I’m trying to tell, how I want to go about it, and how I can make it meaningful to me personally. When I sent her the script, I think she was probably pleasantly surprised that I had incorporated some of the conversations we had, that I had personalized it for her, and that I had gone to great lengths to pay respect to Chris MacNeil -Character 50 years later. We had a great collaboration and I am very proud to have worked with her.”