Jane Fonda has lived a life of acting extremes.
From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, Fonda was one of the top box office draws with movies such as “Klute,” “Coming Home” and “Nine to Five.” Eventually, she didn’t make a film or TV appearance until returning finally in 2005 with “Monster-in-Law.”
Fonda plays Grace to Lily Tomlin’s Frankie in the streaming comedy. The friends have their lives turned upside down when their husbands (Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen) reveal they are gay and leave their wives for each other. It’s up to Grace and Frankie to adjust to dealing with life on their own as mature single women.
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Its been easy for Fonda to relate to Grace because in her own way, she’s dealing with a new life at a mature age.
“I’ve never had to go to a studio every day for five months. It’s fabulous. When you’re 78, having a steady job like that, I absolutely love it,” Fonda says, her answer catching the attention of her dog Tulea nestled in her lap.
Fonda enjoys the way show business has changed since she started her professional career with the 1960 film “Tall Story.” Being part of a Netflix show means publicizing the work at the same time all of the episodes in a season are available for viewing. That has sparked a flurry of telephone calls and emails like she never had before. She calls working on a streaming service a “revolutionary experience.”
The Netflix series reunited Fonda with Tomlin, her co-star from the 1980 movie “Nine to Five.” Tomlin jokes that she learned everything she knows from Fonda.
“We do have a special bond and a friendship. I love being with her for all kinds of reasons, but she has a funny bone. I come from a long line of depressed people,” Fonda says. “That’s one of the reasons I love going to work every day. I get to spend time with somebody whose take on everything comes from a place of funny, which for me is total catharsis. I mean, it’s just fabulous.”
Season 2 reveals the answer to the mystery name, Phil, dropped by Grace while vlogging. Phil (Sam Elliott) becomes a love interest for Grace. Of course, it takes some coaching from Frankie to get back into the dating rhythms.
“It gets really sexy and then it gets really sad and complicated, but it’s also very funny. The sex was good, though,” Fonda says with a big smile.
Fonda says the key to aging with such grace and gusto is attitude. She smiles again and adds, “Good TV.”
Grace and Frankie
- 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 6, Netflix