Since the birth of social media, celebrities have searched for new ways to connect with fans. But no one has been embraced by it quite like Diane Keaton, the avatar — embodiment? — of "coastal grandmother" chic, a recent trend defined by her comfortable look in Nancy Meyers movies.
In her new body-swap comedy Mack & Rita, Keaton plays "Aunt Rita," the 70-year-old alter ego of Mack (Elizabeth Lail), a 30-year-old wanna-be influencer who, on the inside, has always felt like an older woman, largely due to the relationship she had with her grandmother. While getting some distance from her best friend's hyperactive bachelorette party, Mack visits a shaman and is magically transformed into the always fab and stylish Aunt Rita.
"It's a film about women and it's a funny film," Keaton tells EW about why she initially joined the project. "And I liked Alex Saks, the producer — she's fantastic. It just all worked. Everybody turned out to be so charming."
The actress and Gen-Z style influencer spoke to EW after returning from Italy, where she was filming Book Club 2: The Next Chapter alongside Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen. "I love Rome, it was fabulous," she says. "It couldn't have been better, and we were close to the city itself. So we could just go down from our hotel and walk down the steps and walk through the city, and it was just... there was never a dull moment. It was worth it."
Journalists aren't used to getting questions from their subjects, but Keaton has a lively, infectious personality, turning our interview into more of a back and forth. She asks about my teenage daughter's similar style of dressing ("Why am I dressing like her? That's the issue. She's doing the right thing!"), her obsession with doors ("I do love [them], I don't care what anybody says"), and men, of course.
"My kissing cousin, yeah," she says with a laugh about getting intimate with her Mack & Rita costar, Schitt's Creek's Dustin Milligan. In the new film, Milligan's thirtyish character starts to fall for the septuagenarian, unaware that she's actually Mack, and he leans in hard. But Milligan is hardly the only younger man Keaton has famously locked lips with. Reminiscing briefly about kissing Keanu Reeves in Something's Gotta Give, she proclaims that he was "great" and "really kind" — as if the entire internet wasn't already jealous of her.
Gravitas Premiere Diane Keaton in 'Mack & Rita'
Then again, some men may have missed their chance: Recently, Keaton posted a brief montage on Instagram of some gorgeous men of Hollywood. An invitation? "Oh, forget it," she laughs. "That was just… you know. By the way, none of the men responded to that. I failed! It was so unfair. Yes, it's unfair. At least one of them could say, 'Hey, Diane, let me call you up!'"
I offer to tag the men for her, because who passes up Diane Keaton? "Please!" Keaton says. "Tell them I'll pay for a free meal!" (Don't assume because you landed a spot in her montage that you're on her kiss list: "You've gotta get back to me a little later, honey, 'cause I gotta think about that.")
If her Instagram doesn't give you a hint that Keaton is full of life, then feast your eyes on the clip below, where Aunt Rita drinks some hallucinogenic mushroom tea and experiences all the benefits.
"Oh, God, that was so weird," she recalls of the scene. "I was loose, I got to do whatever I wanted because, you know, who knew? They just let me do it. I had a good time. They let me go, and they didn't care. They thought, 'Oh, God, she's a lunatic', I'm sure, but I just did a bunch of stupid things and it was no problem. None at all."
"Please, don't tell anyone that I'm like that," she jokes. "I guess, maybe in a way, I am."
Even over the phone, talking with Keaton is like having wine with your favorite aunt. She takes the opportunity to offer some sage advice for women over a certain age: "They should go out there, have a good time, see what it's like," she says. "Maybe it's not for them. But maybe go explore more instead of sitting in our homes, not sure, not certain, not taking risks."
Mack & Rita is now playing in theaters.
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