Sally Field disses her ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ role

Sally Field was the big guest on Monday's episode of The Howard Stern Show, where the two-time Oscar winner offered up candid insights on her 50-plus years in showbusiness. From Smokey and the Bandit to Spider-Man to The Flying Nun, Field was game for the grilling. Here are five major highlights from today's chat.

1. She's not a big fan of her role in the divisive Amazing Spider-Man movies.

While Field enjoyed one of the biggest box-office hits of her career with the first Amazing Spider-Man, she did the film not out of love for the material but to work with late producer and friend Laura Ziskin one last time (Ziskin died of breast cancer before the movie was released). 

Howard: “You didn't like that movie?”

Field: “Not especially. It's not my kind of movie. But my friend Laura Ziskin was the producer, and we knew it would be her last film, and she was my first producing partner, and she was a spectacular human.”

Howard: “How much thought do you put into playing Aunt May?”

Field: “Not a great deal.”

Howard: “Is that right?…Why, because it's a superhero movie and it's frivolous?”

Field: “Because it's really hard to find a three dimensional character in it, and you work it as much as you can, but you can't put ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag.”

Howard: “Explain that to me. In other words, it's kind of like The Flying Nun. When they say to you, play Aunt May, it's not the Aunt May movie, it's Spider-Man's movie. Spider-Man's all CGI, special effects, the guy's wearing a mask…you come in and you prop up Spider-Man once in awhile. It's like playing the wife at home.”

Field: “Exactly.”

2. She does not hold Smokey and the Bandit in particularly high regard…to say the least.

After working hard to distance herself from her early TV work by playing a woman suffering from dissociative identity disorder in the made-for-television movie Sybil (a role that netted her an Emmy), Field starred in the action-comedy Smokey and the Bandit opposite Burt Reynolds. Though the film was an enormous box-office success, she almost immediately regretted doing it. 

Howard: “How did you feel about [Smokey and the Bandit] when you did it?”

Field: “I just thought it was, you know, the end of everything that I had worked so hard to achieve, you know?”

3. She hated working on The Flying Nun so much she stopped reading the scripts.

“I disliked it so much, it was such nonsense, that I decided I wasn't gonna read the scripts, because they made me upset anyway,” said Field. “So I thought, what I'll do is I'll just walk on the set, look over the wonderful script supervisor's shoulder and go 'da, da, da, da, da, da da. Ok, ready, let's do it!'”

4. She had a terrible experience working with Tommy Lee Jones on the 1981 comedy Back Roads.

“I adore Tommy now,” Field began. “I don't know if you've spoken to Tommy…but that time when we worked together, the first time, he was a troubled soul, to say the least. And had a lot of substances going on at the same time. […] He didn't like me either. He seriously didn't like me…that was hard.”

5. She resorted to “nauseating” measures to gain 25 pounds for her role as Mary Todd Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln.

“I decided to [gain the weight]. If I could've gained more, I would've. But my body was saying, 'that's all we can do right now.' […] It was part of knowing the character, it was part of how she moved. …I had these protein shakes that bodybuilders drink called ProGain. And I had those three times a day, which are about 80 bagillion calories. They were just nauseating.”