Annette Bening Sure Did Miss Smoking Real Cigarettes On 20th Century Women

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"20th Century Women" New York Screening
Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images

Smoking cigarettes rarely appears in films nowadays, except as a period-appropriate detail, like landlines or casual misogyny. But cigarettes are everywhere in Mike Mills’s 1970s period piece 20th Century Women, where Annette Bening plays a single mom with a strong nicotine addiction. At Sunday’s gala for New York Stage and Film, Vulture asked Bening if she had picked up smoking real cigarettes again to maintain the film’s verisimilitude. “For a while [in the past], I was smoking real cigarettes and loving it. [I was like] Oh my God, I have to smoke in this movie, but secretly [was] really wanting to,” Bening said. She didn’t indulge in the guilty pleasure this time around, smoking herbal cigarettes, which she said were “really good in that they look real.” How did they compare to the real thing? “It doesn’t taste great. It’s like sitting in front of a fireplace,” she said. “But it works and it looks right for the movie, and that’s what’s important.”

Annette Bening Sure Missed Real Cigarettes