Book Club director pressured to ditch Jane Fonda and Diane Keaton for younger stars

Academy Award winners Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda and Mary Steenburgen are teaming up on screen in their new movie Book Club.

Jane Fonda has slammed Hollywood ageism after her Book Club director confessed he was pressured to ditch her and Diane Keaton for younger actresses.

The 80-year-old appears alongside Diane, 72, Mary Steenburgen, 65, and Candice Bergen, 72, in the film about four older women who look to add spark to their sex lives after reading E.L. James’ erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

Director Bill Holderman told the Press Association studio bosses put him under a "tremendous amount of pressure" to reduce the ages of the characters so they were in their late 40s.

Jane added that the attempt to ditch her and her fellow veterans from the movie proved that "ageism is alive and well" in Hollywood and explained: "It's an industry that's very much driven by youth and beauty."

She did express a hope that the industry was "beginning to change" as Bill and his team stuck to their guns and insisted on casting older stars.

Meanwhile, Diane claimed that ageism was not just a problem in the arts, saying: "It's tough always for older people. They're used less frequently in every field - it's not just in the performing arts."

And Melvin and Howard actress Mary said that despite Book Club featuring three Oscar winners, including herself, it was a "miracle" it was made - as Hollywood asks actresses to "disappear" when they get older.

"That's a shame because people should be able to enjoy life and be reflected in movies and television scripts as long as they're alive,” she sighed.

Candice was even more scathing about the way Hollywood chiefs had tried to snub veteran actresses like Jane and Diane, who have three Oscar wins and eight additional nominations between them. The Starting Over star said the initial dismissal of her venerable co-stars told other women in Hollywood to get "a day job".

Book Club, which was co-written by Bill and the actress Erin Simms, is in cinemas from Friday (18May18).

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