Debra Winger attends "The Lovers" screening during 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at BMCC Tribeca PAC on April 22, 2017 in New York City.
Chance Yeh—Getty Images
By Belinda Luscombe
May 4, 2017

This movie is about a less-than-optimal long marriage. Are you not a fan of long marriages?

I only know of one deeply, my own. I’ve got nothing against them as long as it’s not a decision you make once and then never revisit.

You’ve been married 20-plus years. Any tips for keeping it fresh?

Anybody who says they understand how to make love stay would have to be called a liar or misguided. The intention is to stay awake, stay alive, keep loving, keep lit up, keep being able to light up the other one. Those are the real tricks. That and some pixie dust.

These lovers are having affairs. Is there a cure for our desire for novelty?

No. I think that’s the human spirit. But I don’t think it’s about another person. We seek out someone else because we are not being seen. We go out looking, but we’re really just looking for ourselves.

What would the Lovers actor tell the Officer and a Gentleman actor?

Oh, she wouldn’t listen. Nobody could tell me anything then. As it should be. I’m neither proud nor ashamed; I was finding my way in a world that was pretty tough on a girl, but I was coming out of pretty tough young life too. So I got tough on the exterior as a protective maneuver.

You have a fairly serious sex-scene montage in this film. This isn’t a question. I just wanted to give you props.

I wanted to bring all the parts of the relationship. If you’re going to bring the sad parts, you’d better be ready to do an honest day’s work and bring the compelling thing. Anyone who thinks physical attraction dissipates with age is not trying hard enough. There are just so many ways to Sunday.

This appears in the May 15, 2017 issue of TIME.

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