Sally Field Says Tom Brady Was 'Nervous' on '80 For Brady' Set: 'But He Was a Natural' 

The Hollywood legend, starring in the new movie with Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, and, yes, Tom Brady, says the football star could have a career in Hollywood if he wants

Truth is Sally Field's North Star.

It's guided her through her career, motherhood and friendships — and got her to where she is today at 76— starring in 80 For Brady, a film about friends who take a road trip to see Tom Brady play in the Super Bowl, alongside Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Rita Moreno.

"I can't say that every character I play has to be like me," she says exclusively to PEOPLE for this week's cover story. "But there has to be an ingredient of truth in it."

For the record, she is a fan of the gridiron. Field can even relate to the players: "Let's face it— football is a performance art."

On the L.A. set of her cover shoot, Field says she's a sports fan, period. "I'm a really avid Dodgers fan. If one of the players came in right now, even one of the players that doesn't play very often, I would know who it was. I would literally fall to shreds. I was always a Lakers fan, a huge Lakers fan and watch most of the games. And I was a football fan when my sons were really young and I would watch the games with them and then they all grew up. That was the weird thing. They grew up and they left and they had their own families and then all of a sudden the football games weren't on all the time."

Sally Field Rollout
Coliena Rentmeester

She's been watching more football lately she says. "But I have a tendency to worry more about football because I don't like to see people get hurt so much."

For more on PEOPLE's cover story with Sally Field, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

A cheerleader growing up — "we called them 'song leaders'" she gently corrects, "and our skirts had to be below the knee" — she cheers along at home. And, back in December when this interview took place, she was cheering for Tom Brady.

"I'm a little worried about Tom this year, I must say. I know he wanted one more year, but I think he'll probably be back for another because I don't think he's happy with this year. But that's my feeling."

"Even though every once in a while there's a game, and I've been watching him. Every once in a while, I'm going, 'Oh no, no.' And then he does his Tom Brady Thing, which this magic takes over," she continues. "I am like, 'How was that possible? How did you do that? You were behind, the team was behind. There was no way you're going to win.' And there's like 10 seconds to go, bing, bang, boom, done. Won."

But is she cheering for Tom Brady, actor? "He was lovely," she says. "He just was Tom Brady. He was a completely lovely human. He told me, 'I'm so nervous.' He felt like he didn't know where to put his feet. But he was a natural. Athletes get the same kind of adrenaline, except most actors aren't worried that their limbs will be ripped off."

Sally Field Rollout

Says Brady, exclusively to PEOPLE: "That's a serious compliment coming from someone so incredibly talented. I learned so much from Sally just being in the same room as her and it was truly an honor to work alongside her for this film. She is so much fun to be around and I loved my time on set with everyone."

But the person for whom Field cheers loudest these days is her 80 For Brady costar Jane Fonda. "How much time do you have to tell you about my friend Jane." Field says she did the movie because of Fonda. "Jane called me. She said, 'I've got this and will you look at it.' I wanted in my lifetime to be able to be with my friend Jane in a movie. And so I was there."

Field said she's been offered similar movies before. "I have avoided some other films that are groups of ladies because I have certain feelings that women are about so much more than just looking for a date or who's my next husband. Or even trying to fix it with your husband and sharing that with your girlfriends. I just have the feeling that women are about a lot more.

"And this movie struck me because it was what I'd been saying. Let it be that women are showing a different side of themselves."

80 For Brady is in theaters Feb. 3

For more about Field, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

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