Jane Fonda: Im 80! I keep pinching myself. I cant believe it!

fit and fab at 80Jane Fonda has ruined me. I never want to interview anyone under the age of 80 again. Specifically, I never want to interview anyone who isn’t 80, and who doesn’t phone me for a catch-up call from a limo in Cannes, in which they are being driven to the airport, having gone to a deeply glamorous film festival party the night before and now finding themselves, as Fonda puts it delicately, slightly hungover. Fonda isn’t even hugely interested in Cannes these days, not like back in the day when people wore their own clothes and went there to talk about movies.

No, she’s hungover in the limo, but wants to talk about the Black Lives Matter movement; about what she has recently learned of the mass incarceration of African-Americans in her country and how it isn’t enough for white women like her to be empathetic. They have to stand up and make this stop because America is a country built on slavery and it isn’t over yet.

Its a continuation of the conversation that began a few days previously, when I met her backstage at the Ellen DeGeneres chat show in Los Angeles. Fonda was preparing to promote her new film, Book Club, in which she plays one of four women who has reached a certain age, read Fifty Shades of Grey in their book club and decided to do something about their passions. The link between spicing up your sex life and committing to ending gross inequality might not be an obvious one, but she explains that Book Club is about female solidarity and women having each other’s backs, and so is much of her feminist activism. Even though, when she first got interested in politics, she had just starred in the 1968 erotic sci-fi film Barbarella and I took a lot of heat on it from feminists. The new women’s movement was in its early stages and there was a lot of she adopts a comically stern voice: How do you feel making a movie that exploits women, like Barbarella? You’d kind of want to say: Well, honey, nobody forced me. But, she concedes, it wasn’t much fun to make it.

Fonda’s small, white, fluffy dog Tulear is perched beside her. She actually wanted to name the dog Barbarella, but her daughter Vanessa, whose father, Roger Vadim, directed the film, wasn’t keen.

I have to say it: Jane Fonda looks stunning, immaculately coiffed and made up, and with the poise and elegance that has always been hers. It’s thanks to a lifetime of fitness regimes for which everyone remembers her videos, and also to the facelifts. But they, she says, were more about survival in her industry than about vanity. They bought me an extra 10 years. Like it or not, it does seem to be true. How many other 80-year-old women currently have a hit comedy series on Netflix (Grace and Frankie), as well as movies coming out, a documentary on their life about to hit HBO, and no signs of stopping any time soon?

Of course this is all down to much more than surgery: it is the third act of a career that began more than half a century ago and has involved two Oscars for Best Actress (and a further five nominations) along the way. Curiously, it is the fitness videos that people in the UK remember her for the most. In the States, there are still people who boycott Jane Fonda’s films because of how deeply involved she got in protesting against the Vietnam war. Not that any of that stopped her.

Oh, I just feel damn lucky, she says of her current renaissance. I retired for 15 years. I left at 50 and came back at 65. I was married to Ted Turner and Ted didn’t really help me with confidence and things like that. [They are great friends now, however, and he recently attended her 80th birthday party.] So after that, I wanted to see if I could enjoy it again. But, at 65, I never thought Id have a career. And a hit TV show! I’m 80! I keep pinching myself! I can’t believe it! I didn’t think I would live this long!

She does yoga and Pilates and has even made a whole new series of workout videos, and their label is Prime Time, as they’re for older people. I can’t do the original workouts anymore, because I’ll hurt myself, she gestures to her hips, as I have joint replacements. In fact, she says her main form of exercise these days involves jumping into things before I really know what I’m doing. Its called a leap of faith and it’s my main form of exercise. It’s what keeps me young, too. That’s my new workout. When you take a leap of faith you don’t always land in the right place, but you sure do learn things. It’s good for the heart.


Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/global/2018/may/27/jane-fonda-interview-film-book-club-im-80-i-cant-believe-it-racism-cosmetic-surgery


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