Jane Fonda has got a story for you, kid. The Hollywood icon is known for her candor with juicy anecdotes and sordid stories alike, and she offered up both this week.
Dishing to “Watch What Happens Live” host Andy Cohen, she recounted tales of an ill-behaved director crossing the line and a skinny-dip with a certain smooth criminal.
During Cohen’s “Plead the Fifth” segment, the Oscar winner was asked to name one man in Hollywood who tried to pick her up, whom she turned down.
“The French director René Clément,” she said, referring to the late director known for the Oscar-nominated films “Forbidden Games” and “Is Paris Burning?” In her 20s, Fonda starred in Clément’s 1964 movie “Les Félins,” known in English as “Joy House.”
“Was it a sloppy pass?” Cohen asked.
“Well, he wanted to go to bed with me because he said the character had to have an orgasm in the movie and he needed to see what my orgasms were like,” Fonda replied. “But he said it in French, and I pretended I didn’t understand.”
Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen, who co-star in Fonda’s latest film “Book Club: The Next Chapter” (along with Diane Keaton, who was not in attendance), were sitting beside Fonda as she recalled the encounter with Clément.
“This is what it’s like sitting around with them all day long,” Steenburgen said, referring to Fonda’s deep well of Hollywood dirt.
Abruptly shifting the subject, Fonda blurted out, “I saw Michael Jackson naked.”
“He came and visited me when we were shooting “On Golden Pond” and I had a little cottage on the lake,” she continued. “And it was a beautiful moonlit night.”
“And you said let’s skinny-dip?” Cohen asked.
“No, he did,” Fonda replied.
“I think because he knew he was gonna die young, and that I would talk about him,” she joked before adding, “He was skinny!”
To wrap up Cohen’s “Plead the Fifth” segment — in which guests are asked three questions, but can opt out of answering only one — the host asked, “After your decades working in the entertainment industry, who do you think is the biggest misogynist in Hollywood?”
“Oh my God,” Fonda replied, seemingly dumbfounded. “I plead the Fifth.”
While Fonda knows how to tell a good story, she’s also a committed political and social justice activist. Remember her notorious mug shot from 1970?
In 2018, Fonda discussed the #MeToo movement while promoting her HBO documentary “Jane Fonda in Five Acts,” and weighed in on whether men accused of sexual misconduct should have a chance at a comeback, and if so, how much time should they spend shunned from the spotlight?
“It doesn’t matter how much time. It depends on what the guy is doing,” the actor said. “There are tools to help men become empathetic.
“You know, the big problem is that empathy is anathema to the social paradigm we live in called patriarchy. Men are trained not to be empathetic. So it’s not easy what they’re trying to do, but they have to try to do it. So it doesn’t matter if it takes two weeks or a year, two years, it depends on what kind of changes they’ve gone through.”