A dose of Hollywood royalty: Jane Fonda recently in Sydney for a speaking tour, and I was on the spot for a brief but deep conversation on the red carpet about hit new film, Book Club. Glowing at 80 years young, the two-time Oscar winner and former aerobics guru has always advocated good causes. Whether it be a stand against the Vietnam War, supporting equal pay for females in film or speaking up for LGBTQ rights (so much so she’s become a gay icon). It was a privilege to be in her presence talking about her new movie and her return to acting after a 15-year break.
BOOK CLUB Rated M 104 minutes NOW SHOWING
Assuming you don’t audition anymore, how did the Book Club role come your way?
Jane Fonda: It was written with Diane Keaton and I in mind. We said yes when offered, then Candy Bergen and Mary Steenburgen came on board.
Where does being a grandmother rank with all your other roles?
Jane Fonda: It’s great being a grandmother (smiling). It makes me happy. I have two grandchildren myself, they live in Vermont while I reside in California.
Is it a return to acting for good now?
Jane Fonda: Listen, I’m 80. If I retired now, I’ll never come back! I did something that just never happens – I left the acting business at age 62 for fifteen years and actually came back creating an entirely new career. I got lucky because parts I wanted to do of celebrating maturity came along.
Was it a nice time with your lovely co-stars on set?
Jane Fonda: I became very close friends with all of them. All have something special. Candice Bergen who I’ve known since was seventeen, just never very well. One of the things I admire so much is that by her own admissions, she has gained a lot weight but she uses it and is still beautiful in spite of it. I find her probably the funniest of all of us in the film. I appreciate about her defying how people assume one is supposed to look comfortable in her body. Diane Keaton, one of the most unusual people I’ve ever met, quite different while perfect.
What has been the biggest lesson a relationship has taught you?
Jane Fonda: Do not go into a relationship unless you feel seen, safe and celebrated (laughs). I cannot say I have ever run into a relationship like that. To go back in time and give advice to young Jane, I would say wait until those three things are alive.
Where do you keep your Oscars?
Jane Fonda: Proudly, on my book shelf.
What’s it like working with Lily Tomlin on ‘Grace and Frankie’?
Jane Fonda: Oh yes, we start again in January and I admire her so much. It’s working with a genius. There are so many people inside of her, she watches the work and how she is in life is parallel to wonderful Lily. Team Lily, I feel so lucky being part of Team Lily.