Roomful Of Talent

There were 21 of us gathered in photographer Mark Seliger’s studio complex, a fixed up warehouse way down at the bottom of Manhattan. Just to mention the people I knew there: John Glover, Matthew Broderick, Geoffrey Rush, Susan Sarandon (totally gorgeous), Joan Allen, Jeremy Irons, Marsha Mason, Jeff Daniels, Marcia Gay Harden. Representing “33 Variations” with me were Colin Hanks and Samantha Mathis. David Hyde Pierce, like me, felt awestruck by the roomful of talent. He is so nice. I seem to only meet up with him backstage at events but it’s always a pleasure.

Especially nice for me was to be able to reconnect with Jeff Daniels. I got to know him when I visited the location of Ted Turner’s TV epic “Gettysburg” many years ago in which he was brilliant. He is an extraordinarily talented, intelligent and multi-faceted actor. He’s in rehearsal for “God of Carnage” with James Gandolfini (also there), Marcia Gay, and Hope Davis (also there). I told him “bravo” for his work promoting Michigan as a place to invest in. Maybe you’ve seen his commercials on TV.

I hadn’t seen John Glover since I turned over a table on him in a scene in “Julia.” He played Meryl Streep’s brother. He’s rehearsing for “Waiting for Godot.”

Being in that room with all those talented actors made me very proud of our profession. And what was most interesting both to me and to Samantha was how scared they all are about the process. That’s how I felt 6 weeks ago. It’s kind of great being the ‘old-timer’ on the block. We’ve been in rehearsal longest and will open soonest so I’m over the hump of feeling like I want to crawl into a dark hole.

I didn’t get a chance to talk to Geoffrey Rush but Colin did. Like me, Colin doubted that Geoffrey is nervous but he did tell Colin how much he loves what he feels is the unique Broadway community—even if we don’t all know each other, we feel bonded through the work. There was a real sense of community in the room today. I am proud to be part of it. And grateful.

As you may sense, I am starting to feel better. Whew! When I got to the theatre after the photo shoot, we got notes from Moises as well as what may well be our last script changes. I am very, very pleased with all the changes he has made in the last few days. They’ve simplified and clarified. Now to marinate in them long enough to make them part of my DNA before the critics start to come next week.

See you next time.

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  1. Jane,
    your fucking fantastic!! i met you a few years ago and you signed my dvd of 9-5, i love your outspoken personality and your a true living legend.


  2. That is wonderful! A room full of talent I’d say! 😀

  3. Was in NYC back in January, staying at Marriott at TimesSq – and the energy just wasn’t there – Broadway felt a little too quiet. I love walking out through the door there because the energy usually catches you by surprise and tugs at your sleeve until you find yourself eyeing a new marquee, recognizing the names posted there. Sadly, back in January, there were no new marquees, no new names, and no tugs.

    Am eager to return in May, when there will be new marquees, new names, and no need for a tug – I will go happily into each new venue!

    Break-a-leg —-

  4. Hey, I just found your blog and twitter, love both. I’m a published author, and have always loved your work — you are very talented! Keep posting, enjoy reading your struggles with the creative process of acting.

  5. I am happy that you are blogging because it’s fun to hear the backstage tidbits. It’s something we couldn’t have experienced 20 years ago. There was a time when all that we could see was the projected image, rarely the projector. I think this shift will be beneficial for showing us that we are all projectors in some sense. But I’ll not get metaphysical 🙂 Glad you are feeling better and enjoy marinating!

  6. I’m about your age, met you at the Women’s Media Center benefit in Phoenix at Michelle’s house, and following you here and on Twitter ever since. I sense that you are re-defining both yourself and the profession by blogging like this and being transparent. It’s a far cry from the BS of the red carpet, and I bet it will invariably make actors feel way more connected to their fans and much less insecure. My dad was a show business lawyer in the 50s and 60s in NYC and I grew up knowing how insecure and driven most people in the theatre and the movie business were. It amazed me, but it’s nice to see you have the courage to bring it out front. I hope no trolls discourage you from continuing:-)

  7. Haha! I remember that scene in Julia. One of my favorites of yours. It sounded like everyone had a great time. There really was a room full of talent huh? Great people you mentioned there. Also, glad to hear you are FINALLY feeling better. It’s about time!!


  8. Hi Jane. You are a living legend. I read this every day. You are my inspiration for being a better woman!!! Keep up the good work!!!!! Glad you are feeling better too.

  9. Thanks for another interesting blog. Good luck with the play – all the best to you.

  10. Hi Jane,

    It’s nice to see Michigan mentioned in your post. I’ve lived here all of my 37 years and the economy has hit us hard!

    Glad you’re starting to feel better. Just in time for your opening. I wish I had the $$ to travel to NY right now. You’ve always been my favorite actress, since I’ve been 12.
    Take care,

  11. Glad you are feeling better.
    Love your blog!

  12. Jane,

    You’ve been in my heart ever since I saw On Golden Pond. It’s so great to be able to read your blog! Good luck in 33 variations! You’ll be amazing as always.

  13. we forgot about the Vanity Fair Photo Shoot (Annie Leibovitz, i presume?) today and kept checking your blog for a hit, wondering when/if you would check in. my household is addicted and i’ve shared this with a flurry of stage actors in san francisco who are now following closely as well. you never disappoint!

  14. wow that is a room full of talent. I love how open and Honest you are Jane, you are fantastic and so wonderful, i hope when or if i get to your age i can look just as amazing as you are.

    I wish and hope i can come see this play in new york sometime, i live in Canada, Windsor Ontario, and i think you are really truly amazing. I’m 20 and i love every movie and production you have done, i keep reading your book and i’m so inspired to be a better person to change for the good. and just Live each day to the fullest.

    Jane, Thank you for everything you done and still do.

    Keep on rockin,

    lots of love


  15. Jane,

    It’s so great to read that you are on the mend. I’m sure it’s a relief to be rid of that nasty cold!

    Sounds like you had quite the photo shoot today–all that talent in one room–remarkable. I can’t wait to see the final product.

    I finally have my ticket to see 33 Variations and I couldn’t be more elated. Also, thank you for adding me on Twitter! You’re a gem!

    All my best,

  16. I learned about twitter while watching your segment on The View. Being a gay man I think it’s a requirement that I be a Jane Fonda fan or they would revoke my Homocard and take back my toaster oven. You’re such a wonderful talent and above all an honest American. I was in the Air Force for 10-years (don’t ask, don’t tell, my ass) and I am proud that we have freedom of speech. Now, I will step down from my soapbox and tell you that I can’t wait until I get to read your posts and also your book. You looked beautiful on The View! You made Elizabeth H. a little nervous…I thought she might piddle her pants. I had to get one dig in for the night. Good luck on with the play!

  17. YOU are gorgeous! And one of the finest American actresses ever.

  18. Jane,

    Great to hear your getting better. Your like the energizer bunny.
    The shoot sounds amazing,Such extraordinary talent. I’m sure you WOWed them all, in every way.
    As for the critics coming, they will be
    blown away by All The Talent!/Script/Set/Lighting/etc
    33 Variations is already a HIT ! So just breathe, get a great nite sleep, be renewed.
    Oh I forgot to say how adorable Tulea is. We know how smart our dogs are.

    Only the Best for you,

  19. Hey Jane, it sounds like this new Broadway show and the process you are going through to make it great is turning into a real adventure. I hope your enjoying it. It s=certainly sounds like quite an experience. Im 24 years old now and you have been ispiring me with your words and yor spirit for the last 5 years. Now with this new blog, im so happy to have this connection with you. Keep going!!!! Good luck

  20. Dear Jane,
    New to your blog but of course not to you and your talent. Thank you for sharing. Connecting with such powerful talented energy, all of you together creating something extraordinary! How wonderful!

    With JOY & Gratitude!

  21. Wow, how I wish I was a fly on the wall. I used to work with Second City in Toronto for a little bit, in the dinning louch, but even so there was a sense of Community. On Monday evenings the places like the Royal York in Toronto would provide tickets for us to see performers. It was a way of all of us supporting one another. I was not a performer, but never-the-less felt a sense of connection. I saw Natalie Cole, and love her performance and the whole experience. I am so enjoying following our adventure. I really appreciate you doing this, as you must be so busy. I so admire you energy, I hope I can one day see one of your live performances.

  22. Hello Jane!

    I read in the New York Times that you have a couple of films in the works. I do so hope that Harvey Weinstein is brilliant enough to cast you in the film version of AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY as Violet. It is the GRANDE DAME role of the decade!! Break a leg on the 9th (but watch out for that hip!!!).

    A loving fan since CAT BALLOUU

  23. You’re among that list of great talent!

    glad you’re feeling better.

  24. I just LOVE your blog! It’s fantastic. Please make a prominent note to eventually tell us about you and Susan being stranded 14 hrs at Abu Dhabi airport. Maybe you and Susan could write it together?
    Looking forward to seeing the show in April (can’t wait actually).
    Stay hydrated. Lotsa water. Yes, E***n, the French water; we all know it’s the best. I wonder if they get it for free in the town of E***n, like if it’s tap water there?

  25. You are fabulous, Jane. The others left the room thinking,”I cannot I believe I saw Jane Fonda!’ Please go to to honor Liz Smith. Bloomberg did, Groban, cruise…

  26. Thank you for sharing so much with your fans. Take care. Love, Laura

  27. Hi Jane,
    Looking forward to seeing 33 Variations this Wed. evening 3/4! I am coming in from Michigan with the artistic director of our theatre Karen Moore of Upland Hills School in Oxford, MI. In the late 70’s, you were a part of an advisory council for the Upland Hills Ecological Awareness Center here. Our school Director, Phillip Moore and yourself were interviewed about the UHEAC on public television at one time. The school and center are thriving, educating our communities and state about alternative, sustainable energy and ways to live a deeper shade of ‘green’!
    We would love for you to check out our website Also, we adore Jeff Daniels as well and appreciate the support he is giving back to our challenged state of Michigan. Many people I know are benefiting from the ‘movie making’ opportunities as extras and tech crew. It is giving us hope….brighter days are coming.
    You are an amazing human being and an inspiration to all women. Thank you for the good work you do. So glad you are feeling better. Can’t wait to see you onstage!

    Fondest regards,

  28. I can’t imagine the power a roomful of talent like this can inspire…but I wonder if it also made you feel a bit lonely… sometimes I find it more difficult to be present with gifted artists when I know I will never truly touch that thing inside them that allows them to reach out and grab me and the rest of the world…awesome to share space with, but lonely too…

  29. Dear Jane
    I had the privilege to see you in 33 Variations on Thursday night. I must tell you that it was the most amazing Theatre experience for me. I sat in 2. row and was mesmarized by you and your performance (though I loved ‘Beethoven’ too). The entire play and it’s actors were brilliant.
    Thank you for this extraorinary experience. I wish you only the very best
    Yours truely,

  30. Ms. Fonda,

    I know you will find this comment unusual, and although I do not know you personally, you did make a difference in my life. I can remember chatting with you back in the 1970s at Kent State University. Your passion and commitment to creating change for the better were very inspiring. You made me realize that one person can make a real difference in this world. Our brief conversation helped me, a very young and lost kid at the time, find my passion, my way of creating change. You inspired me to become a teacher. I have been a teacher now for 28 years. You helped me to realize that we can all, in our own way, work to make a difference….to educate, motivate, and create change. Thank you for being such a fine role model for young people who are searching for thier places in the world. Thank you for touching my life. I am so pleased that I could tell you.

  31. You must have nerves of steel. I don’t know how you could be updating your blog with only 15 minutes until curtain. I would be pacing the floor…or make that escaping out the back. Love reading about your experiences, especially Arthur Laurents. 90 and in previews. That is truly amazing.

  32. I have such admiration for your profession! I’m an RN, but I think in my next life….maybe acting will be my journey 🙂

  33. I am so glad that you mentioned JULIA.One of the best films ever made.So many memorable scenes.

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