Jane Fonda Defies Ageism in Hollywood: ‘I Live for Sex Scenes’

Jane Fonda Robert Redford Venice
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Jane Fonda made her “Our Souls at Night” co-star Robert Redford blush at the colorful press conference for the Netflix film at the Venice Film Festival on Friday.

Fonda, who was in a particularly cheeky mood at the presser, joked that she “lives for sex scenes,” and spoke candidly of her enduring love and admiration for Redford since they starred together in “The Chase” in 1966 and “Barefoot in the Park” the following year.

Throughout the press conference, which was also attended by “Our Souls at Night” director Ritesh Batra, both Redford and Fonda spoke of the rampant ageism within the film industry and the limited representation of older characters in movies.

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“In ‘Barefoot,’ I couldn’t keep my hands off of him. … I realize they’re totally different films, but the dynamic between my character and his character in ‘Our Souls at Night’ was somewhat similar to ‘Barefoot in the Park,'” Fonda said. “In ‘Barefoot in the Park,’ we played that young love, just like now we play old people’s love and old people’s sex.”

The actress, 79, argued that even though “Our Souls at Night” doesn’t contain sex scenes, “it’s great that [the two lead characters] still want to have sex.”

“I’m in a Netflix series called ‘Grace and Frankie,’ and I’ve had three lovers already in that series, and I love it and it was fun and I’m just so happy that we’re getting a cultural face for older women. Yay, Netflix!” said Fonda, spurring bursts of laughter in the room.

Redford also said: “There are very few opportunities for a film to be made that would satisfy the older audience.”

Reminiscing on his work relationship and friendship with Fonda since “The Chase,” the 81-year old actor said: “Things have always been easy with Jane. It didn’t need a lot of discussions and explaining and it stayed that way. Things fell into place, and there is a love, a connection there.”

Redford, who had declared he would retire from acting last year, said he felt compelled to produce and star in “Our Souls at Night” because he “wanted to do another film with Jane.”

“We had not worked together for 47 years, and I wanted to do another film with her before I die,” Redford said.

Fonda said she has long admired Redford for the ways in which he helped shape and define the movie industry through the launch of the Sundance Film Festival in 1969.

“What [Redford] created has really changed American cinema in the most profound ways,” Fonda said. “I not only love him and admire him as an actor, a director, and a producer, but this is a man who has had a profound effect on American cinema and I wanted to spend time with him, and see what he has become. Plus I wanted to be able to fall in love with him again.”

“Our Souls at Night” marks Redford and Fonda’s fifth film together after “Tall Story,” “The Chase,” “The Electric Horseman,” and “Barefoot in the Park.” “The Electric Horseman” was given a special screening in Venice on Thursday.

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