At 77 years young, Jane Fonda is busier than ever. On the morning of her Golden Globe nomination -- her first in more than 30 years -- for playing aging actress Brenda Morel in the new Paolo Sorrentino film “Youth,” Fonda was racing around town in her car, during a day filled with meetings and Christmas errands.
You’ve generated quite a bit of awards buzz with what’s essentially one movie-stealing scene.
I don’t know about stealing the movie, but it’s a wonderful scene -- I’m grateful to Paolo [Sorrentino] for writing and directing it. I’m honored and so grateful to the Hollywood Foreign Press for recognizing me.
Where were you when you heard about your nomination -- and were you surprised?
I was eating breakfast at home in L.A. when I heard. It was such a surprise, it’s a wonderful thing. Now I’m in the car. On the way to a meeting. Busy day!
You’ve reinvented yourself, career-wise, many times -- as an actor, a political activist, an exercise guru -- does reinvention energize your passions and keep you feeling young? Which of course is a theme of the movie.
Not so much in relation to my career, but yes, in general, in life. Staying involved and passionate and curious helps one remain youthful for sure. There’s the chronological issue [of age]; and chronologically, I could well be dead by now! I’m older than my father was when he died. But spiritually and energetically, I feel younger than when I was 20 and 30. Really, I’m not just saying that. It all has to do with attitude and how you see life -- and that’s a theme of the movie. I wasn’t happy back then when I was 20 and 30; I was depressed. Now I see my past, and I see a future -- and I feel like it’s going to be a good one. I feel light and grounded. I’m a very different person than when I was younger and I feel better about myself and my life.
There’s a meta quality to your performance in the movie -- how self conscious were you of being an icon in the role of an icon? Did you draw on personal experience?
No, I didn’t. I felt like an icon only because I was playing Brenda. I don’t think of myself that way. In real life, no one really feels like an icon. If someone says ‘There goes an icon,’ I’d look around the room to see who they were talking about!
Will you celebrate at all today?
No. I’m too busy to celebrate. I’m getting ready for Christmas, wrapping presents, getting the house ready. And: meetings!