Ellen Burstyn is a screen legend, and at age 90, she said she’s more in demand now as her peers have all already “died.”

The “Exorcist: Believer” star, who returns to the franchise 50 years after William Friedkin’s original film, told her “Law and Order: Organized Crime” co-star Christopher Meloni while in conversation for Interview magazine that it’s “bizarre” how busy she is in her later years.

“This is so bizarre. I turn 91 in December and I’m busier than I can ever remember being at any point in my career,” Burstyn said. “And I don’t understand it at all. I mean, what’s all this stuff about ageism in Hollywood? How did I get left out of it?”

She continued, “I don’t know, except possibly that everybody else who could play those parts has already died, so I’m the only actress still standing who can play the great-grandmother or something.”

Throughout her half-century onscreen, Burstyn revealed that her approach to acting has always been the same: “My standard for any moment in a scene is, ‘Is this real to me?’” the “Mother, Couch” star said. “That’s my training. That’s what I aspire to. If I ever feel fake, it’s like eating rotten food or something, it’s just wack. So I protect myself from ever feeling that by being as open as possible. I know that being real and not faking is my guide.”

Burstyn announced her return to “The Exorcist” franchise in 2021 as part of a three-picture deal with Blumhouse and Universal, with David Gordon Green writing and directing. Green, who also rebooted the “Halloween” franchise for Universal, told A.Frame that convincing Burstyn to come back inspired him to make the script “be worth something.”

“It’s a big relief, as someone trying to honor the original film, to have someone I’m not exactly looking for permission but who can hold my hand as I step into sacred territory,” Green said. “If there’s any hand I want to hold here, it’s Ellen Burstyn’s.”

He continued, “At first, she was very skeptical. Her immediate answer was, ‘Hell no.’ I think people have approached her many times about sequels, so I said, ‘If you won’t be in my movie, at least be my friend.’ We ended up talking about my intentions and the story I’m trying to tell, how I want to go about it, and how I can make this meaningful to me, personally. When I then sent her the script, I think she was probably, in my eyes, pleasantly surprised that I’d incorporated some of the conversations that we had, that I’d personalized it for her and taken great lengths to pay respect to the Chris MacNeil character 50 years later. We had a tremendous collaboration, and I’m very proud to have worked with her.”

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