GROW­ING FONDA

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

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY | MOVIES -

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,

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