BootLeg Betty

Lily Tomlin Has First Leading Role Since Big Business!

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In Grandma, Lily Tomlin has first leading role in a film in 27 years – and she’s playing a bisexual poet

Comedy legend was last above title in 1988’s Big Business opposite Bette Midler in 1988

30 JANUARY 2015 | BY GREG HERNANDEZ

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The last time Lily Tomlin had a starring role in a film, the Berlin Wall was still standing, Ronald Reagan was president of the US and it still would be 16 more years before the launch of Facebook.

But the 75-year-old comedy legend is back above the title in the comedy Grandma which premiered this week at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

In her first leading role since 1988’s Big Business with Bette Midler, Tomlin plays a feminist poet who is breaking up with her far younger girlfriend and still dealing with the death of her longtime partner.

The poet’s granddaughter shows up needing money for an abortion and Tomlin’s character takes her around LA trying to get the money for it.

‘I know I’m putting myself on the line, kind of,’ Tomlin tells the Los Angeles Times. ‘But I trusted (writer-director by Paul Weitz) and I liked the material. First of all, he had written it with me in mind, and he wanted me. Then as we worked through the material, it just seemed like a good thing to do.’

Sony Pictures Classics picked up distribution of the film shortly before its Sundance premiere so the independent movie will make it into theaters.

Leading up to Big Business 27 years ago, Tomlin had been a frequent lead in movies including All of Me with Steve Martin, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, and 9 to 5 with Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton.

She was also nominated for an Academy Award for her feature film debut in 1975’s Nashville.

In more recent decades, Tomlin has been part of many ensemble casts in such films as Short Cuts, I Heart Huckabees, Flirting With Disaster and A Prairie Home Companion.

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