Jane Fonda agrees she has a reputation of being intimidating, but says her years out of the film business have made her a better actor
family reunion that is definitely worth attending.
Fonda has a reputation as being a little intimidating.
The 76-year-old two-time Oscar-winning Hollywood star, who is loving her rebirth on screens, big and small, doesn’t disagree.
“I just think I do that automatically!’’ says the sexy star of 1960s hit films such as Barbarella and Cat Ballou. “Frankly, I don’t see myself as some kind of a set-apart diva, or something like that.
“So I think maybe people are nervous at the beginning. But they get over that in about two minutes.’’
In This Is Where I Leave You, when four grown siblings head home for their father’s funeral at the request of their pushy mother (Fonda), it brings new meaning to the term dysfunctional family.
Fonda says that after a long career in front of the camera – she won Best Actress Oscars in 1972 for Klute and 1979 for Coming Home and is the daughter of acting legend Henry Fonda – she feels more comfortable now than ever.
“I think I’m a better actor,’’ she says.
“It took work. In my life, I mean. I left the business for 15 years. And during that time, I did a lot of work on myself. And healing. And you know, it didn’t hurt that I was married to Ted Turner, who taught me how to laugh. And yeah, I think I am looser now.’’
The rest of this film’s stellar clan is rounded out by downon-his-luck son, Judd, played by Jason Bateman; the hardbitten and dependable son, Paul (Corey Stoll), and the irresponsible youngest son, Phillip, played by Driver.
The siblings soon realise the ties that bind them are the same ones that will help them through the loss of their father, and the rocky road of each of their lives – complete with cheating or distant spouses, infertility treatments and unpredictable relationship chaos.
At the request of their late father, the siblings agree to shiva, the seven days of Jewish mourning, at the family home.
What ensues in director Shawn Levy’s adaptation of the 2009 Jonathan Trooper novel is a poignant and realistic portrait of a family as they go through grief, anger, confusion, happiness and sadness.
“It was well written,’’ Fonda says. “You go where the words are good. And the words were good. And it was a character I understood. She was funny, and I wanted to play her.’’
Jane Fonda and Jason Bateman in the film
This is Where I Leave You,