The stars of Book Club: The Next Chapter know never to judge a book by its cover — only by how well it pairs with a drink.
In the first Book Club, Vivian (Jane Fonda), Sharon (Candice Bergen), Carol (Mary Steenburgen), and Diane (Diane Keaton) spark a new lease on life after 50 Shades of Grey inspires them to be more daring in their own lives.
FIFTH SEASON, LLC/Focus Features Mary Steenburgen, Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, and Candice Bergen, in 'Book Club: The Next Chapter'
The ladies reunite in Book Club: The Next Chapter, now in theaters, for a trip to Italy — leaving behind their Zoom book club sessions to Europe (Bergen names the pasta the best part of the experience, while Steenburgen loved the tiramisu).
But dessert and pasta aside, in the spirit of the films, we asked the stars to name a book they'd recommend and a drink they'd pair it with.
Steenburgen was up first, saying, "A Gentleman in Moscow, and I would have to pair it with a vodka, but I don't know vodka very well [laughs]. So I'd just pair it with an Aperol Spritz because that's what I do now."
Viking 'A Gentleman in Moscow' by Amor Towles
Bergen also opts for a drink pairing she doesn't particularly imbibe in herself. She suggests The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder by David Grann. "I would have it with tequila, which I don't drink," she quips.
Doubleday 'The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder' by David Grann
Jane Fonda, who once lived in France, goes for something more chic and continental — a little Proust. "I would recommend Remembrance of Things Past with a shot of Poire Eau-De-Vie," she rattles off with perfect pronunciation.
Nbm 'Remembrance of Things Past' by Marcel Proust
Diane Keaton offers up French conceptual artist Sophie Calle's Blind by Sophie Calle, paired with a French dessert-wine aperitif, "Lillet Blanc with lots of ice."
The first movie was a massive box office success, and it sparked a hunger for more ensemble comedies starring older women (Fonda has been in two this year, the Book Club sequel and 80 for Brady). Fonda credits that to the ever-increasing audience at the heart of these stories. "Older women are the fastest-growing demographic in the world," she says. "So studios are smart to make movies for older women. We discovered how important female friendship as entertainment was over seven years of making Grace and Frankie. There was and is a hunger. Women really want to see movies like this. It makes them feel good. It gives them hope. 'Oh, getting older isn't so bad.'"
Steenburgen reiterates her delight that it isn't merely women in their age group turning up to movie theaters, but their daughters and granddaughters. "I'm amazed at how many young women watched the first movie, and also Grace and Frankie," she says. "But they like to hear an alternate version of what their future's going to be instead of this sad, losing everything [narrative]. It's, what are you going to gain when you get older?"
Book Club: The Next Chapter is now in theaters.