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Last Updated: Monday, 6 June, 2005, 08:10 GMT 09:10 UK
Hanoi Jane still has work to do
Steve Duffy
BBC News website

Jane Fonda at Hay
'I'm a big movie buff, but it's what I do, not what I am'
Hollywood star Jane Fonda spoke of her memoirs and more besides on the final day of the Hay Festival.

A woman of many parts - actress, political activist and fitness guru - she followed Goldie Hawn as the second silver screen star at the event.

She told stories of Hepburn and Hanoi.

The veteran of causes and campaigns, including famously opposing the Vietnam war, she said of current events: "I'm 67 and I've not seen the situation as scary as it is now."

Inevitably, her opposition to the Vietnam war took up most of the discussion.

As source material for an autobiography, not many have access to a 22,000 page FBI file.

We need to stay and fight - there's a lot of us, we've just been lied to and manipulated - we're just a little walking-wounded right now
Jane Fonda at Hay Festival

"I was a celebrity," she said of the attention of a more secret kind. "There were people far more effective and more knowledgeable. I was Barbarella, but I was suddenly working with soldiers in the anti-war movement. I was a real threat."

Earlier on Sunday, in one of those odd moments that Hay can throw up, the actress had met Robert McNamara, the US Defence Secretary who had resigned from the Lyndon Johnson administration over the bombing of North Vietnam.

"I wanted to say thank you to him. When he said that they were wrong, it was something I wanted to acknowledge."

Ms Fonda told the sell-out crowd of her relationship with her parents.

Jane Fonda at Hay
The actress is in the UK after a five-week US publicity tour

Her mother's depression eventually led to her suicide when Fonda was 12, and there were the well-documented difficulties with her father, actor Henry Fonda: "I couldn't get him to love me."

She spoke quite movingly of working with him on his final film, On Golden Pond, which won him an Oscar in 1982, aged 76.

On the same film, she also encountered the formidable Katherine Hepburn, whose first words to her were "I don't like you". But her frostiness did thaw.

"She was angry with me because I didn't pay enough attention to (acting). I had children.. had a business."

Despite winning two Oscars, the star of Klute, Coming Home and They Shoot Horses, Don't They? only recently returned to films after a gap of 15 years, starring alongside Jennifer Lopez in Monsters-In-Law.


"I'm a big movie buff, but it's what I do, not what I am. Most of my films are of absolutely no importance whatsoever."

Ms Fonda mused over an idea for a film about an older couple falling in love - getting undressed in the dark - and dismissed a press report about herself and botox injections.

"Do they know nothing about lighting," she queried. "You can look about 10 years younger if the light's right. No, I've not had botox. Everyone looks alike, it's frightening."

"You go shopping in Hollywood and everyone looks the same. That's what I like about over here, everyone looks like (what) they are."

After railing against the right-wing and contending that only the women's movement was a real force for more radical politics in the United States, the book title, My Life So Far, sounded more like a warning to her opponents.

"We need to stay and fight. There's a lot of us, we've just been lied to and manipulated. We're just a little walking-wounded right now."

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