The always outspoken 74-year-old takes on an idealistic aging hippie in her new film, Peace, Love and Misunderstanding.
But Fonda insists that being a hippie was a completely foreign experience for her.
That wasn’t all she let us in on.
1. The 1960s
“I lived in France during the 1960s, so my view of the ’60s is a more global view. It was a time of tremendous transition for America, but for the world as well. And it wasn’t just because of the Vietnam War or the Pill. I’m not a sociologist, so I don’t know why it was that almost everywhere in the world there was tumult, but it was. The ’60s was about discord and generational splits. When I became an activist in 1970, I missed the ’60s. I never was a hippie or anything. I recognize the importance of that decade, having had one leg in the ’50s — which I think has been much more idealized as a time of, you know, families were together and everything was well…”
2. She can’t stress enough the importance of the Internet
“The technological stuff has changed everything. We can see it overseas even more, with the Arab Spring and so forth. I never used a computer until I was 58. I was married to Ted Turner, and he threw it across the room. He still doesn’t use one. I started blogging at 71. Since it was all new to me, suddenly my life became very immediate. I was worried about blogging because I study Zen Buddhism and I meditate and I believe in being in the moment, and this is going to keep me from being in the moment. But what I discovered was that it helped me be in the moment.”
3. Kids today don’t protest the way they used to
“One of the things that’s really interesting is there’s no leader (in the Occupy movement).
During the Vietnam War, there were all these organization and they all had leaders — most of them men. I married one. And now there isn’t and people get really disturbed by that, but it’s really what’s so beautiful about it.
It’s not ideological, you can’t quite get a grip on it, but it’s making a difference. Just like that demonstration in Seattle when the WTO met up there. That was in some ways more significant than anything that happened in the ’60s.”
4. Papa don’t preach: She didn’t actually learn anything about acting from her dad
“I never could get him to talk to me about acting, ever. I produced On Golden Pond for him, and after our big scene together I still couldn’t get him to talk to me about acting. I learned about life from watching his movies — like Grapes of Wrath and 12 Angry Men. It’s what made me who I am, the roles he played. I am my dad’s daughter and I look like him in many ways, and I’m sure there’s things that other people see that I don’t. In some ways, I learned more from Katharine Hepburn than my dad.”
5. On impressing Katharine Hepburn
“The first thing she ever said to me was, ‘I don’t like you.’ Take the backflip [scene in On Golden Pond]. I had no intention of doing the backflip, so they had a stunt double all set up, and then Hepburn said to me, ‘Are you going to do the backflip?’ I thought ‘oh God, I’m going to have to do it.’ My dad couldn’t have cared less if I did the backflip myself, but it mattered to her. It took me a month and a half to learn. I’d go out on the raft and do it over and over and over. Finally I made it one day, and I crawled out on the shore and she’d been hiding in the bushes, watching. She came over to me and she said, ‘You’ve taught me to respect you.’”