Jessica Lange may have hinted at her own retirement for years, but the legendary actress is actually playing it out onscreen with her latest film “The Great Lillian Hall.”

Lange stars as the titular (fictional) iconic stage actress who grapples with her own legacy amid a dementia diagnosis. Her daughter (Lily Rabe) struggles with separating her mother Lillian from her Broadway fame, while Kathy Bates, Jesse Williams, and Pierce Brosnan round out the cast.

“I have lived my entire life in a place that creates illusions,” Lange says in the trailer as Lillian. Yet upon her cognizant decline, what’s real anymore, anyway?

“The Great Lillian Hall” is directed by Michael Cristofer. The official synopsis reads: “As beloved Broadway star Lillian Hall (Lange) pours her heart, soul, and time into preparing for her next big role, she finds herself blindsided by confusion and forgetfulness. Battling against all odds to make it to opening night, while holding on to her fading memories and identity, she must navigate a tumultuous emotional journey – balancing her desire for the spotlight and the stark demands of the real world.” 

Lange told The Telegraph in 2023 that “really great filmmakers” are few and far between in modern Hollywood. Due to “creativity [being] secondary now to corporate profits,” Lange stated that she was going to “start phasing out of filmmaking” as an actress.

“These big comic book franchise films [have] sacrificed this art that we’ve been involved in for the sake of profit,” Lange said, noting that she is “not interested” in joining superhero movies.

The Oscar winner Lange previously credited Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story” for revitalizing her interest in the screen, telling the Los Angeles Times in 2012 that while she was “coming to an end of acting,” the anthology series reignited her passion for the craft.

“It brought back the thrill of acting,” Lange said. “It was the perfect storm. It’s all the tired stuff everybody says — age working against you, films that made your career not being made anymore.”

“The Great Lillian Hall” premieres May 31 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on HBO and Max. Check out the trailer below.

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