At the age of 28, Sally Field began branching out into sitcoms and showed off her talents by auditioning for Horror Stories

It was 1974, and Sally Field was at a crossroads. She made her mark in television, carving out girl-next-door roles in sitcoms such as "Gadgets" and "The Flying Nun," but she was eager to branch out. "When I turned 28, that was the beginning of my transition into movies. I worked really hard to make that transition," Field, 76, tells Bustle. "Now, there's no transition. They understand that people who are successful in [television] can also be successful in [movies]. But in those days, if you did a sitcom, you died in a sitcom."

By his mid-30s, Field had abandoned sitcoms altogether. She won an Oscar in 1979 for "Norma Rae" and a second five years later for "A Place in the Heart." But it was the work she put in during her transition that laid the groundwork for her to become an award-winning actor, and one role in particular would help her forever escape the public perception of sitcom sweetheart: Sybil .

"No one wanted me in the room, and it was clear to me that no one wanted me in the room," Field recalled of auditioning for the lead role in the 1976 TV movie of the same name, whose protagonist suffered from multiple personality disorder. "I knew I had to be good enough that they couldn't say no. And then you can feel it. All of a sudden, 'Oh my God, they're interested!'"

If the Flying Nun can transform herself into a shy graduate student with dissociative identity disorder, and win critical acclaim and an Emmy in the process, there's no doubt Field can overcome any career obstacles, too. "If there's a job that you really want - because you know it's going to catapult you to the next position you need to be in - but the people around you are all assholes and stuff, sometimes you need to just accept it for a while and go Work,” said Field, who currently stars in the romantic drama “ Spoiler Alert.” "Focus on your work; you'll leave them behind at some point and you'll look back at them and say, 'Too bad for you!'"

Below, Field reflects on working with Arnold Schwarzenegger, drinking with her puppies, and putting The Flying Nun behind her.

Ron Galera/The Ron Galera Collection/Getty Images

Take me back to 1974, when you were 28 years old.

I have two little boys, but I'm not married yet. This is basically my life, trying to take care of these two boys and be the breadwinner. Luckily, I had the most amazing mother who helped take care of my kids while I was at work because I never had enough money [to take care of my kids].

How do you feel about your life and career?

When I was filming " The Flying Nun" , It was very difficult for me because I didn't want to do it. I know you've read about all the upheaval that was happening in this country in my generation at that time. Everybody was running around naked, eating granola, doing God knows what, but they were protesting. They understand the world. They don’t want to be part of the establishment. The world is changing because our generation is screaming and pushing for it. But I'm stuck in The Flying Nun. I'm a joke.

Field for the titular Flying Nun. Bateman/Bateman/Getty Images

I was so frustrated that there was actually one episode where I couldn't continue. Madeleine Sherwood, who plays the dean, pulled me into a corner and thrust something into my hand. She said, "There's an address there." It was the Actors Studio. Be there on time this Tuesday at 8pm. "I'm not sure if I was ostracized or flattered, but I did go there and she did meet me, and it changed my life. I met Lee Strasberg and started working with him. This situation lasted for nearly ten years.

What was it about The Actors Studio that had such a huge impact on you?

" The Flying Nun " stopped and I didn't even get a chance to audition. So during that time, I kept studying with Lee, and slowly something started to fall apart. My first audition was for a little movie called Stay Hungry that Bob Rafelson directed (and starred in) with Jeff Bridges and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I could hear Bob Rafelson in the other room screaming and yelling at the casting people that they were wasting his time by asking me to audition. But then I knew how to bring out the anger and use it instead of letting it distract me, destroy me, or make me angry.

After I read it the first time, Bob Rafelson called me and said, "Well, you're the best one we've read so far, but that must be because you've done more Lots of auditions." I said, "You know what? I had done one audition before this, and that was for Gidget, so Bob Rafelson always had to (coordinate) how he did it. To be able to hire "The Flying Nun" for this very quirky little indie film I have to keep accepting of this neglect, but that's okay I haven't earned the right to have a seat in it yet.

How do you stay confident and carry on if someone is yelling at you from the other room? What advice would you give to a 28-year-old in a similar situation?

If you are a 28 year old woman and you want a chance at something other than dating, my feeling is that the only thing you can focus on is the job in front of you. Being charming, pretty, friendly, or any of those things is better than being poked in the eye with a sharp stick. But it does have to do with work. If they're hiring you for something other than work, you don't want to be there.

Do you have any regrets at the age of 28?

I wish I could know more about my real father, but when I'm 28, I don't have the ability to do that. I think as you approach these big numbers in my life, and I'm 76, you can look back and be like, "I wish I could have done this. I wish I could have known my dad." But you Also have to forgive myself because when I was 28 I was too busy continuing the job I wanted to do and taking care of two kids. So, I forgive myself.

God, I wish I could learn to play the piano, too, or speak French. But I can tell you, I would love for one of my granddaughters to speak fluent French. I live by her. I love that my oldest grandson is now great at the piano. I said, “Oh my God, I feel like this is happening to me!”

Was there a time in your life or career when you felt like you had made it?

Sometimes, when I'm drinking with my puppy, I realize that all three of my sons have called me that day and they want to talk to me about something. An issue they want to discuss, or something they want to rant and rant about, and I'm with them in some parts of it. At the end of those days, I hope that my sons, and even my grandchildren, will be able to overcome whatever stresses them out. But in the end [being around them] was an achievement for me.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity .