Demi Moore On Her Comeback In ‘The Substance’: Actress Came Away From Horror Pic With “Greater Acceptance Of Myself” – Cannes

Demi Moore is officially back in The Substance or, as her co-star Dennis Quaid called it for her at the pic’s Cannes Film Festival press conference Monday, “an incredible third act” for the actress.

“Man, it’s inspirational,” said Quaid who also praised the movie’s filmmaker Coralie Fargeat, framing the body horror pic that wowed at its world premiere Sunday night as “the birth of a great auteur.”

More from Deadline

The trio, after a 13-minute standing ovation here in Cannes, the longest so far at the 77th edition, also received a roaring applause as they took their seats in the fest’s press room today.

RELATED: Cannes Film Festival 2024: All Of Deadline’s Movie Reviews

The movie is billed as a body horror with a feminist take, revolving around a new product called The Substance that promises to transform people into a better, younger version of themselves. It’s an offer that comes with a twist. Moore plays an iconic TV aerobics host who is shown the door in her older age. She takes the new drug and spawns a younger version of herself, played by Margaret Qualley who takes over Moore’s status as a sexy exercise show host.

Said Moore on selecting the script, “I look for things that push me out of my comfort zone; the opportunity to make a better person and actor. This touched on so many themes that we all face, we seek validation and belonging. By doing (the movie) it takes us to extremes and allows us to step into it in a unique way.”

RELATED: Deadline Studio at Cannes Film Festival 2024 – Cate Blanchett, Jena Malone, Kevin Costner, Sienna Miller & More

“Through the process of the film, I think I came out with greater acceptance of myself than I am,” said Moore.

Moore was asked by a reporter about being canceled for her age.

“I don’t think I share that perspective of being canceled,” she responded. “My particular perception is that regardless of what is going on outside of you, the real issue is how you are relating to the issue.”

Moore continued, “What I love in what Coralie wrote, as this is about the male perspective we bought into of women…even the newer, better version (of my character) gets the opportunity, but is still looking for the same validation.”

Fargeat said, “My point was to stress our body; as women we’re defined as how we’re viewed in society; the violence we direct to ourselves is the violence around us.”

Moore said that the movie isn’t “anti-men” rather “anti-jerk.”

Quaid, who plays a chouvinist TV network boss, said today he dedicated his performance to Ray Liotta, who was originally set to play the part before his death.

Quaid said, “Forty is the age when women are put out to pasture, whereas men keep on going. I’m glad to see a subject like this that people are afraid to talk about…all thes barriers are getting broken.”

He added, “I think this movie in 20 years will still speak to us,” said Quaid.

The Substance reps the first time that Moore and Quaid, two stars who rocketed to stardom in the 1980s, have worked together on screen.

Qualley, after having the giggles and wearing a big hat during the Kinds of Kindness press conference, was absent this morning at The Substance presser. Moore said Qualley had to return to a film set.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.