Jane Fonda On ‘Book Club,’ The ‘9 to 5’ Reboot, And Why The #MeToo/Time’s Up Movement Isn’t Going Away

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We are now 13 years into Jane Fonda’s return to movies. In 2005, she co-starred with Jennifer Lopez in Monster in Law, a movie that’s remarkable in the sense that, until then, Fonda had not been in a film since 1990’s Stanley & Iris. There’s probably a version of this story in which Fonda never returned to films. But, instead, now several movies into her comeback (not to mention her television work like Grace and Frankie and her recurring role on The Newsroom), Fonda finds herself front and center as a leader in the Time’s Up/#MeToo movement.

As Fonda puts it, she would have never imagined a world in which she’d be 80 years old — an age Fonda proudly proclaims — and starring in a film about four women reading Fifty Shades of Grey and having Don Johnson playing her love interest. (And Fonda specifically requested that Don Johnson be in Book Club to play her love interest.)

In Book Club Fonda plays Vivian, a successful hotel owner who has maintained a book club with three life-long friends, played by Diane Keaton, Candice Bergan, and Mary Steenburgen. To spice things up, Vivian wants to read Fifty Shades of Grey, which is balked at by the rest of the group, but over the course of the film each of their lives change as a result of this experience.

Fonda is also heavily involved in the reboot of 9 to 5, based on the 1980 hit (it was the second highest grossing film of that year) that she produced, a project that would bring back Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton to their respective roles. Ahead, Fonda discusses her new film, fills us in on the latest with the reboot project (Rashida Jones and Patricia Resnick have been tapped to write the script) and explains why she thinks the current women’s movements will not be going away.

With all the bad things going on in the world, this is the kind of movie where I just felt delighted for 100 minutes.

Right? Yes, totally. We need movies like this. We need to be able to laugh now and enjoy ourselves and not be made to feel anxious. It’s very good.

Anxious is a good word. These kind of movies don’t get made a lot, but the anxiety went away.