Tom Brady went from star quarterback to movie star on Tuesday night, walking the red carpet for the Los Angeles premiere of 80 for Brady, which he both produced and acts in (as himself).
The NFL star was greeted by fans chanting his name the second he stepped out of his car, and was surrounded by a hoard of industry insiders seeking photos and handshakes as he slowly made his way into the Westwood theater.
Brady’s co-stars — and the film’s leading ladies — Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sally Field and Rita Moreno also caught up with him on the carpet, and Tomlin had some high praise for the athlete’s acting skills.
“He was a wonderful actor,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “He listens, which is the key mark of a good actor. He really listens and he responds in the moment and you can see him thinking and processing what you’re saying to him, just like it’s real life.”
Director Kyle Marvin had similar feedback, confirming that “The crazy thing is he’s not a professional actor but he really delivered in this thing. I think he really committed to it which is the hardest thing to do, just to be like OK, I’m going to commit to this scene. And I think it came out great.”
The film follows four friends who travel from Massachusetts to Texas to see their beloved Brady and his (then) Patriots play in the 2017 Super Bowl. Asked if he ever considered asking the four award-winning actresses to try on Boston accents, Marvin said they discussed it, but “the reality is there are so many different Boston accents, there’s 1000 different Boston accents, so to dissect that and work it out, we thought it’s better to just be non-distracting and let the women do their own natural voices.”
Tomlin, though, said she “tried a little bit” to tap into the classic accent, joking, “It’s very hard not to go too far.” The Grace and Frankie star also said the main draw for her was that she “got to be with the other women. We all were friends anyway and we don’t get to spend that much time together, so when we were locked up on a set we got to see each other every day for a couple of months. That’s fun.”
Marvin explained that when he and fellow executive producer Michael Covino signed on, only Fonda and Tomlin were attached; the pair knew Field, and then they reached out to Moreno to finish out the group. For Moreno in particular, the director said, “this is really her soul, this kind of wild comedy.”
“I’m actually frustrated that Rita didn’t do more of this style comedy throughout her career because she’s so funny and it’s so in her sweet spot,” added Covino. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a resurgence of Rita Moreno-based comedies.”
80 for Brady hits theaters on Friday.