When it was recently announced that Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton would reunite for the first time since The First Wives Club in a new movie called Family Jewels, no one was more excited than the smash 1996 comedy’s screenwriter, Robert Harling.
“I just thought, ‘It’s about time!’” he tells Closer. “After all, each of those actresses has had 25 more years of life experience — it can only be juicier and more fun! I’m really excited to see it.” He’s not the only one. In the original film, Bette, Goldie and Diane — who are all now 74 — played former college pals who bonded over having been dumped by their husbands for younger women, then joined forces to plot revenge against their exes.
“It was brave of these three stars, all terrifically attractive and talented, to address issues of aging and vulnerability,” The First Wives Club casting director Ilene Starger tells Closer. “They are consummate professionals who always work so hard to serve their characters and imbue them with intelligence, humor and sensitivity.”
Family Jewels casts them as a trio of widows who were all married to the same man and must share the Christmas holidays together with their kids and grandkids. “The chemistry of Diane, Bette and Goldie is unmatched and irresistible,” says one of the film’s producers, Brian Oliver. “This will put movie stars back where they ought to be — on the big screen.”
It’s bound to be a major draw, as the original film grossed more than $180 million worldwide. “This film is well-served by having three big-name stars, each with a strongly established career,” film historian Jeanine Basinger (A Woman’s View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women, 1930–1960) tells Closer. “They’re different from each other, they don’t look alike, and not one is a traditional beauty, so they bring a sense of real personality.”
Despite their differences, Bette, Goldie and Diane found they also shared a lot when they made the first film. “They know the odds are hugely against them in Hollywood, and that’s what binds them — they’re survivors in their own personal club,” says an insider. “But their most profound commonality is their sense of humor and how it’s gotten them through rough times.”
They’ve also bonded over their commitment to family: Bette has one daughter, Diane has a son and a daughter, and Goldie has two sons and one daughter. “Being a mother is fantastic,” says Bette. Over the years since they made The First Wives Club, the stars have only grown closer. “They sincerely, to the core, adore and love each other,” says the insider. “They revel in each other’s company and are each other’s biggest cheerleaders.”
And they all share the same goal: “To show that women across the board at 74 can be vibrant, funny and sexy,” says the insider. “As these three glorious divas most certainly are!”
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