Lea Thompson is learning to take after her actress daughters Madelyn and Zoey Deutch.
When she began her illustrious career in the early ‘80s, “I always felt like I had to diminish myself or be cute in order to get people to listen to me,” admits the Back to the Future alum, noting her girls have taken the opposite route. “They have a whole different way of dealing with things, in terms of being more confident. They stand on their merit and believe they’re worthy of being listened to because they should be.”
Thompson has eagerly taken note. “I learn from them every day how to be more confident and claim my spot at the table,” she tells Us. “They’re very cool and sometimes I get intimidated — but then I remember I gave birth to them! I am happy to have produced such strong women.”
Her resume boasts more impressive productions: This summer, the 57-year-old directed her first feature film, daughter Madelyn’s coming of age tale The Year of Spectacular Men. Today, she’s starring in the modern adaptation of Little Women, directing episodes of ABC’s The Goldbergs and creating her own television show, which she cannot talk about just yet.
“I’m just go, go, go,” adds the multi-hyphenate, wed to producer Howie Deutch. “It didn’t use to be that a woman could actually create her own projects. It takes a lot more than just showing up to work every day and going, ‘What should I do?’”
After all, with about just two percent — yes, just two — of roles offered to women over 50, Thompson was compelled to expand her expertise.
“That’s the brutal truth of it,” she reveals. “I’ve been really lucky to do a lot of different kind of parts, but what I have seen is that there are just so few roles and they’re much smaller. I have to direct to stay in the business!”
But with encouragement from Madelyn, 27, and Zoey, 23, she’s become invincible. As Thompson tells Us, “I’ve learned from my kids how take the bull by the horns and create the life you want to live.”
Little Women, a modern adaption of the 1869 classic, is now in theaters.
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