In a new interview with the Daily Mirror, the 84-year-old describes having taken a break from acting for 15 years, from the age of 50 until she was 65 years old. “The biggest stroke of luck was getting the role in Monster-in-Law at a point in my career when I had been out of the acting business for 15 years or more,” she said. “It was with Jennifer Lopez, and it was a great comeback for me.”
Starring Lopez and Fonda as the feuding bride and mother-in-law, Michael Vartan, Wanda Sykes, Adam Scott, and Will Arnett round out the cast. Following Charlotte’s (Lopez) quest for true love, she finally finds the perfect man in Dr. Kevin Fields (Vartan). After getting engaged, Charlie quickly realizes that his neurotic mother (Fonda) will stop at nothing to destroy their relationship.
“I was almost 65 years old when I got this script out of the blue,” Fonda recalled. “The producer was a friend. We hired someone to rewrite my character and that is what became the great mother-in-law role in that movie.”
“It was the only smart career thing I ever did,” Fonda quipped. “I thought, ‘People are going to come to the movie to see J.Lo, but they’ll rediscover Fonda’, and that’s what happened.”
A success at the box office, Fonda has landed countless high-profile roles since Monster-in-Law. She starred in Georgia Rule alongside Lindsay Lohan and Felicity Huffman in 2007, Fonda followed this success with This is Where I Leave You alongside Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, and Adam Driver in 2014, as well as Book Club with Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen (the sequel is currently in the works!).
From 2015 to 2022, Fonda found cult-beloved success in her seven-season Netflix series Grace and Frankie, alongside Lily Tomlin.
In her 2018 HBO documentary Jane Fonda in Five Acts, Fonda discussed giving up work for her “favorite ex-husband” entrepreneur Ted Turner. “My whole life had to be about him,” she said, noting he didn’t like to be alone. “As we moved through the decade that we spent together, I became more of a feminist. And so, my focus was more and more on women’s empowerment. But it’s hard to be a complete feminist if you’re in a marriage that doesn’t quite work.”
“I wanted to be living as a whole Jane, fully realized Jane,” she added. “I hoped that Ted would feel okay about it [working again], because I really loved him, and I was hoping it would be forever. But that’s not the way it played out.”
“I never thought I would still be doing this,” said Fonda. “If you had told me that I would be my age now, and still working, I would have been totally flabbergasted. I’m just kind of amazed that I have managed to recreate a career and I’m as busy as I am.”