Jessica Lange says Hollywood has lost its 'soul': 'I guess what I miss is the quality'

Acclaimed actress Jessica Lange still loves her line of work, but the Academy Award winner admits she's dismayed by the current state of the film industry.

Following a screener of her new Netflix series "The Politician" at The Wing SoHo, Lange responded candidly to an audience member's question about the current state of Hollywood, saying that with progress has come a "trade-off" of high standards: "I guess what I miss is the quality of filmmaking that existed, and the amount of quality that you had back then," she mused.

"Everything's a trade-off. In the '70s, there were great directors doing great projects," Lange said. "When you look at the body of work from the late '60s through the '70s and into the early '80s — that was the heyday, I think, of American film. I really do."

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Jessica Lange through the years
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Jessica Lange through the years
3rd December 1976: Film actress Jessica Lange who starred in a remake of 'King Kong', with a model of the famous gorilla, at a reception at the Savoy Hotel, London. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange. (Photo by PICOT/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Jessica Lange , circa 1975. (Photo by Getty Images)
American actress Jessica Lange at the 34th Golden Globe Awards, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, 29th January 1977. She has just won the Best Acting Debut in a Motion Picture (Female) award for her role in 'King Kong'. (Photo by Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - CIRCA 1978: Milos Forman and Jessica Lange circa 1978 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Platzer/Images/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - NOVEMBER 5: Jessica Lange attends the preview party for "Lunch Hour" Benefiting Richmond Fellowship on Novembwer 5, 1980 at the Piccadilly Hotel in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - Diana Ross (left) and Jessica Lange (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 01: Charles Grodin and Jessica Lange (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)
Jessica Lange et son bébé lors du Festival de Cannes le 14 mai 1981. Elle venait présenter son dernier film 'Le facteur sonne toujours deux fois'. Cannes, France. (Photo by Bertrand LAFORET/Daniel SIMON/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Jessica Lange during AFI Life Achievement Awards Dinner Honoring Frank Capra at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES,CA - APRIL 11,1983: Actress Jessica Lange poses backstage after winning "Best Supporting Actress " at the 55th Academy Awards at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles,California. (Photo by Michael Montfort/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES,CA - APRIL 11,1983: Actress Jessica Lange arrives to the 55th Academy Awards at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles,California. (Photo by Michael Montfort/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Sam Shepard and Jessica Lange (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Jessica Lange (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Dennis Quaid in romantic embrace with Jessica Lange in a scene from the film 'Everybody's All-American', 1988. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)
Jessica Lange during Premiere of "Music Box" at Academy Theater in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Jessica Lange and Brother during 62nd Annual Academy Awards After Party at Spago in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 31: Charles Grodin and Jessica Lange (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 01: Alec Baldwin and Jessica Lange (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)
Jessica Lange lovingly rests her head on Tommy Lee Jones shoulder in a scene from the film 'Blue Sky', 1994. (Photo by Artisan Entertainment/Getty Images)
Promotional portrait of American actors Alec Baldwin & Jessica Lange on the set of the television production (directed by Glenn Jordan) of 'A Streetcar Named Desire,' the Pulitzer Prize-wining play by Tennesse Williams, 1995. The film, which was originally broadcast on October 29, 1995, was nominated for a number awards though only Lange received one--a Golden Globe for Best Actress. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
68TH FILM OSCARS CEREMONY IN LOS ANGELES (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
311824 02: Actress Jessica Lange attends the premiere of the film "A Thousand Acres" September 15, 1997 in Los Angeles, CA. "A Thousand Acres" was based on a novel by Jane Smiley, who modeled the story on Shakespeare's "King Lear." (Photo by Russell Einhorn/Liaison)
Jessica Lange at the 1998 Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Jessica Lange during San Sebastian Film Festival - Jessica Lange Photocall at San Sebastian Film Festival in San Sebastian, Spain. (Photo by Lalo Yasky/WireImage)
Jessica Lange during San Sebastian Film Festival - Jessica Lange Photocall at San Sebastian Film Festival in San Sebastian, Spain. (Photo by Lalo Yasky/WireImage)
Jessica Lange during Billy Crystal Makes His Broadway Debut in "700 Sundays" at The Broadhurst Theater/Tavern on the Green in New York, NY, United States. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
BROOKLYN, NY - DECEMBER 12: Jessica Lange attends BAM 2006 Next Wave Gala at BAM on December 12, 2006 in Brooklyn, NY. (Photo by Scott Rudd/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - JULY 18: (EXCLUSIVE) Actress and photographer, Jessica Lange poses with her photographs during the reception of 'Jessica Lange: 50 Photographs 1992-2008' at The Rose Gallery on July 18, 2009 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 12: 71st ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Actress Jessica Lange arrives to the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 12, 2014 -- (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/NBC/NBC via Getty Images)
69th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Jessica Lange winner of best actress in a television series – drama for "American Horror Story" in the press room during the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 15, 2012 -- Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
69th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Jessica Lange accepting award for Best Supporting Actoress - Series/Mini-Series/TV Movie on stage during the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 15, 2012 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 19: Actress Jessica Lange in ESCADA attends the 40th Annual International Emmy Awards at the Hilton New York on November 19, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/WireImage)
GOLETA, CA - NOVEMBER 16: Actress Jessica Lange attends the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's 9th annual Kirk Douglas Award for excellence in film honoring Jessica Lange held at Bacara Resort on November 16, 2014 in Goleta, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)
Actress Jessica Lange attends 70th Annual Tony Awards at Beacon Theatre on June 12, 2016 in New York City.
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 04: Jessica Lange attends the ceremony honoring Ryan Murphy with star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on December 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
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The process of bringing a story to screen, she said, has been corrupted: "It became corporatized just like every other aspect of America, and it lost some of its, I don't know — some of its soul," she said. "That's not to say there aren't great movies still being made. But I remember waking up one morning, living in Santa Fe, I picked the mail up off the porch and opened a package. 'Oh, it's a script for 'Sweet Dreams.'' But things aren't like that anymore. So it's a trade-off."

That screenplay on her front porch would become the 1985 film that landed Lange her third Oscar nomination for Best Actress. (She's been nominated for six Oscars and won twice.) 

Although she may be less than impressed with much of Hollywood, she's found substantial creative fulfillment through "The Politician" director Ryan Murphy, with whom she also worked closely on the "American Horror Story" franchise.

In terms of gender equality, the industry is "nowhere near" where it should be, she said, but she applauded Murphy's commitment to filling at least half of every production staff with women. "Incrementally, step by step, it is getting somewhat better," she said.

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