Jane Fonda On Playing Nancy Reagan

Outspoken liberal actress Jane Fonda plays former first lady Nancy Reagan in Lee Daniels upcoming film “The Butler.” After being awarded the Los Angeles Press Club’s Visionary Award on Sunday, Fonda discussed her role in a Q&A session.

Fonda said she spoke to Reagan about the role before production.

“I know that she was happy that I was doing it, and I sent some questions to her that she answered,” Fonda said.

The actress said she wanted the portrayal to be as accurate as possible.

“They had be doing something that wasn’t very nice,” Fonda said. “And I said, ‘if she really did this, I’ll do it. But if it’s made up, I don’t want to do it.’ I don’t want to take cheap shots at her, because what she was was like a chief of staff. You couldn’t get to him without going through her. She was a tremendous power broker. She was very important with them. And so I wanted to see her talking to James Baker about the need for a Russian summit, for example, so I wanted to know if she called him ‘Jim’ or ‘James,’ and put her arm through his, and things like that.”

From the left: Director Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda and Alan Rickman Photo credit: Oprah Winfrey

The two-time Oscar-winner said she was surprised Reagan was happy with her portraying her.

“Yes. Yes,” Fonda said, “because back when she was feisty she wasn’t nice to me. We all mellow. We all mellow.”

Fonda said she “loved” playing the former first lady and would love to do a full movie about her someday.

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