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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview With Jane Fonda
Aired December 8, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight a Hollywood icon in her own words.
JANE FONDA, ACTRESS, FITNESS ICON, ACTIVIST, AUTHOR, "PRIME TIME": I'm my father's daughter in the sense that I do believe strongly in things.
MORGAN: The unique and remarkable Jane Fonda on her politics --
FONDA: We're going to have to stop trying to be objective and start telling the truth and it has to start with the media.
MORGAN: Her extraordinary life and loves.
How many times do you think you've properly been in love in your life?
FONDA: Oh, maybe five times? That's a lot.
MORGAN: Her outstanding film career from sex symbol to Oscar winner.
MORGAN: Her workout empire.
FONDA: Do you work out?
MORGAN: I try. You know, I sort of -- it's what I call a British workout where you do it so you can carry on eating and drinking.
And what she says about her life now.
FONDA: I've never been happier, frankly, and that's the truth. I'm not being coy.
MORGAN: Miss Jane Fonda for a remarkable hour.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
If I could talk to just one Hollywood star, then that star would very probably be Jane Fonda. The stories this woman can tell, in fact does tell from her beginnings in one of the first families of movies to her ground-breaking roles in politics, her multimillion dollar businesses, even her life with the man who created CNN.
Jane Fonda's latest book is "Prime Time" and she's here with me now.
FONDA: Thank you very much. I'm glad to be with you.
MORGAN: When you look at this extraordinary life that you've led, when do you think your primetime was?
FONDA: I think it started at about 62 when I became single for the third time. And it's continued. I can honestly say that I've never been happier, but I've worked hard for it.
MORGAN: I read a recent interview you did and you suggested that despite all these amazing men that you had relationships with, you actually never felt proper intimacy, which I found was an extraordinary thing to say. What did you mean by that?
FONDA: Well, to really bring all of yourself, including the not always very attractive and perhaps not loveable parts of yourself to the table in a relationship, to makes you very, very vulnerable. And if you have addictions of any kind or suffer from depression or things like that, it's very hard to do it.
And, you know, for -- in my first marriages, I think that I chose men -- I agree with Katharine Hepburn, it's the women who choose the men. I chose men who, like me, really weren't able to show up 100 percent. And it took me a long time to get over that and to be open to a relationship that was intimate. Now that -- you know, I'm not talking about sex, I mean soulful, emotional, psychological intimacy.
MORGAN: And how much of that was done to you with the husbands you've had and how much was done to them or was it both?
FONDA: Well, it was definitely me. I mean I sometimes wonder, did I man cross my path who could have really showed up 100 percent? Who knows. But I didn't -- if he did, I wouldn't -- I would have run the other direction, you know. It's like if you're -- if you grow up surrounded by chaos and someone is offering peace and calm, you're going to be terrified. So, you know, it took -- I had to grow out of that and it took me -- I'm a late starter.
MORGAN: What have you -- what have you learned about yourself?
FONDA: That I'm resilient, that I'm brave, that I'm honest. And I guess the most important thing that I continue to be curious. I feel like I learn something every day. I think that it's one of the things that keeps us young and interesting is remaining interested in life, in people, in learning things.
And, you know, I was a college dropout. I'm a great student now. I study. One of the reasons that I love writing books is because it forces me to study, and I do. And I'm just very involved in life and very happy. MORGAN: You've always been very active politically, and everyone knows you for that. What do you make of what's going on with politics in America at the moment?
FONDA: I am -- I'm scared, I'm scared. Anybody who's been to a third world country where there's no middle class, you know, where there's a very narrow layer of people who are very rich and powerful and privileged, and then everyone else is kind of struggling, barely making it, not able to have what they have dreamed of, that's a country that's not stable.
And I hate to think that this wonderful country of ours is not going to be able to be stable. But we're headed in that direction. And I -- we still have time. I hope we can -- we can turn it around. But we've got to do something about the greed in high places, I think.
MORGAN: Yes, but why has America got itself into this awful position economically? Because it was the great superpower of the world, it remains so statistically, if no other way. But there's clearly something fundamentally wrong with the soul of America and everyone is debating this.
You've been at the forefront of American politics and society for a long, long time. When you look at it, what do you think went wrong?
FONDA: I can't answer the question. I have not been in the forefront of politics. I came to politics, you know, in my 30s and I -- my politics are around issues. And the issues that I understand are not economic.
You know, I work with young people, I work with adolescents, I work on issues of violence against women. It would be -- it would be clumsy for me right now to try to give my opinion about what went wrong in this country economically.
You know, one thing that comes to mind is you can't wage a war for as long as we did in Iraq and not tax it. We're paying for it without taxing it, so that people would swallow that bitter pill. That was one thing that was -- you know, that went wrong and that really messed up the economy.
But I have a hard time understanding the economic situation. I try. I look at wonderful documentaries like "Too Big to Fail" and things like that. It's -- I find it very confusing and disturbing. All I know is that when you have soldiers coming back from war, when you have people graduating with high degrees and none of them can find jobs in a country that promises that if you play by the rules, that you're going to be able to own a house and send your children to college and do OK.
This is -- this is going to cause real deep problems in our country. And you know, we're going to -- we're going to have to stop trying to be objective and start telling the truth, and it has to start with the media, in my opinion.
MORGAN: Are you blaming me there, Jane? FONDA: I don't know you well enough. I might.
FONDA: The media in general, though.
MORGAN: I mean how far do you think the media -- the media has been complicit?
FONDA: I think it's been quite complicit. You know, I think, you know, there's such an effort to be objective rather than really looking at underlying truths and telling them even if it might affect the ratings. You know everyone is -- everyone is worried about the short term. You know, if only, only, only we could become a country where people who influence our consciousness and influence our politics, and the politicians themselves stop thinking short term and began thinking long term.
I wish that we had those kind of human beings in office and there are some, but not enough. We need more long-term thinkers.
MORGAN: When you look at the Republican race and you see these debates with all the candidates and so on, what do you make of the intellectual level of those debates? Who impresses you and who scares you?
FONDA: They all scare me, frankly. I'm -- I get depressed and scared when I look at the Republican debates.
MORGAN: Even -- I mean even someone like a Newt Gingrich or a Mitt Romney, do they scare you?
FONDA: I'm worried about anybody getting elected to office who says we have to do away with or privatize Social Security, we have to reduce medical -- health insurance, we have to not raise taxes. I don't think that we can get out of the -- and, oh, there's no problem with the environment, you know. This is all made up by the left. The scientists don't really know what they're talking about.
This worries me. I think this is an example -- you know especially I'm thinking about the environment now, of people not -- people becoming ideological rather than understanding that there are some people who are experts, and there's a lot of them, and they are saying we are in dire trouble.
This is our life support system, this planet. And if we don't do something about clean air. And I'm unhappy with the Democrats, too, it's not just the Republicans. But like this should be a top priority. And I -- so they all worry me because I don't think that they're really telling the truth, or maybe they just don't see the truth about what's happening to us.
We have to tax the rich, we have to help people who are -- you know who are struggling. We have to do everything we can to create jobs for the -- for the people who are able to work. We have to help children become educated so that we have a workforce that's going to be productive in the future and we have to do everything we can to save the planet.
MORGAN: What do you think of Barack Obama?
FONDA: I hope he gets re-elected. I wish that he would be stronger. I think he will be in his second term. I think he's going to be re-elected. I think -- I think that he's -- I think he's a good man, but I wish that he was tougher on the issues that I care about and that a lot of people care about.
MORGAN: I mean a lot of people say about President Obama that he's -- you know, he's a very nice guy, people like him. He's clearly intelligent. He's a great figure head for America abroad, there's no question of that, and I've seen that tangibly in Europe and Asia and so on.
One of the criticism is this paralysis we're seeing in Washington in particular, a lot of that they say is down to Barack Obama wanting to be Mr. Nice Guy and get on with the Republicans when politics isn't like that. He should have flattened them early on and forced through what he really believed in.
FONDA: If he is able to. I mean I'm old enough to have remembered the time when people were friends across aisles, you know, Republicans and -- especially during Lyndon Johnson's administration. You know, they would play cards and drink together and they were friends and they would compromise.
There was a civility in the body politics and that seems to be gone. And you know I think that Obama has tried to reach out, and I think that the other side is really intransigent. I'm not sure -- I don't think that there -- I don't know whether there's anything he could have done differently.
I hope that I'm wrong, but we feel like we're at some kind of a terrible, terrible impasse, and I don't know how to open the logjam, but it needs to -- it needs to happen and it needs to happen soon.
MORGAN: I mean it seems there's a very big disconnect now between Washington and the regular American people on the street. And when you watch the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters, what they're really protesting about is a general malaise, I think, as much as anything else about the way the political process is stifling their lives. And nothing is getting done to improve their lives.
FONDA: They're protesting greed. I mean greed is poisoning our country.
MORGAN: Yes, but why? Why does that happen? Americans never used to be --
FONDA: I don't know why.
MORGAN: Associated with greed. I mean it wasn't -- it wasn't part of the culture.
FONDA: I can't answer the question. MORGAN: What do your suspicions tell you?
FONDA: I don't know. I -- you know, I -- I really -- I'm not going to go there because I don't know how to answer -- I don't know how to answer the question of why greed has risen to this level in the last several decades. I don't know -- I don't know what it is that has caused a very, very extreme right-wing to be able to -- because I think that they're responsible for the impasse.
I don't entirely understand why it's true. But, you know, your original question was, am I scared. I'm scared, yes, I am.
MORGAN: Well, let's try and lighten the load a bit of your terror, Jane. We're going to take a little break, come back and talk movies.
FONDA: I didn't say I'm terrified.
MORGAN: All right. Your moderate disquiet. But let's talk movies after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FONDA: Couldn't we do it your way? I don't want to change your traditions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a savage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My group must --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was a clip from the 1968 film "Barbarella" the moment that officially cemented Jane Fonda's status as a worldwide sex symbol.
What do you think, Jane, when you look at yourself in "Barbarella"?
FONDA: I think it's a charming camp movie, not very sexy. But at the time young men had their first experiences looking at the film and I'm glad of that. I think it's kind of cool that I aroused a lot of young men at that certain time. But I -- compared to -- it's pretty tame compared to what we see now but it's got a lot of charm. We did it before there were any great special effects. We invented them. We, my then husband, Roger Vadim, came up with all these ideas for how to create special effects and no one had ever done it before, so it's kind of fun.
MORGAN: I mean when you say it's not very sexy, you realize there are millions of men watching this who would race to disassociate themselves from that comment.
FONDA: Well, they remember back to when they were very young, I think, looking at it now it doesn't seem so sexy. But I'd like to remake it.
FONDA: I would. I would. Maybe I will one day.
MORGAN: Did you -- do you like -- well, I was going to say, I mean there's nothing to stop you.
FONDA: No, I don't.
MORGAN: I mean I was going to say did you like being a sex symbol, but you've remained a sex symbol. I mean I look at you now, you look as glamorous as you've ever looked.
FONDA: Thank you very much. I've never thought of myself as a sex symbol. I don't really care one way or another. I just -- I like to work and it was fun to do that and it was fun to work with the man I was married to, and I'm glad I went on to make movies like "Klute" and "Coming Home." When I began to produce and -- "On Golden Pond," I'm glad I didn't get stuck in the "Barbarella" mode.
MORGAN: I mean why did you feel not uncomfortable, but why are you -- why wouldn't you be that keen to be a sex symbol?
FONDA: I'm 74 years old. I think it would be inappropriate.
MORGAN: No, I don't mean now, I don't mean now. I mean when you look back at that period in your life you don't seem that happy that you were this global sex figure, if you like.
FONDA: Well, I wasn't.
MORGAN: You know, the idol of millions of men.
FONDA: If you really want to know I wasn't. "Barbarella" did not do well at the box office, it's become a cult film. But it was not a big -- a big deal at the time. And, you know, I came back and pretty soon after I did "They Shoot Horses, Don't They," so that window of time when one could have slotted me into sex symbol didn't really last because at heart I'm a serious actress who much preferred being in "They Shoot Horses, Don't They" and shortly after that "Klute," because I just -- I think that being stuck with a label like sex symbol can be very limiting.
I mean if a man I care about finds me sexy, that's great. But I -- you know, I don't want to be labeled anything.
MORGAN: Who do you think was the sexiest --
FONDA: I do a lot of different things.
MORGAN: -- of all the -- who was the sexiest of all the stars you've ever seen?
FONDA: Ava Gardner as a woman. I can't think of any -- Redford, I guess, is my favorite. Bob Redford, I made three movies with him. MORGAN: You know, I interviewed -- yes, I interviewed Robert Redford recently and he just exudes it even now. I think you and he should do a movie together.
FONDA: I do too.
MORGAN: You can make "Barbarella 2".
FONDA: No, I wouldn't do "Barbarella" with him. No.
FONDA: I'd do "Barbarella" with Angelina Jolie. I did have an affair with an angel in the movie, right? So if I had a baby I'd lay an egg.
FONDA: And I won't tell you anymore because maybe I'll do it one day.
MORGAN: Yes, I mean, tell me about acting, though. If you were to tell me what really has excited your passions in life, on a chart list of top three, where would acting fall?
FONDA: There have been moments in some films when it feels transcendent, when it is the most wonderful feeling when you have entered someone else's reality and you know you're there. Part of you knows that it's not real, and yet you are living inside another human being and it's meaningful and it works.
And when that happens in the context of a film that you produced and conceived of, and that is carrying a message that is something meaningful to you, that is very -- that is beautiful. It happened in "On Golden Pond" which I produced for my father, it happened in "Coming Home" which I was instrumental in getting done, and it happened in "9 to 5" which was my idea. And it's happened a few times.
And when all those things come together, when what you're saying through art is something that you're passionate about and you love the character and inhabit the character so deeply that it's transformative, that's really, really exciting. There's also -- I've been fortunate enough to have done things in my life that have -- people tell me have helped them, have made them happier, better, more clear about their own lives, helped them move forward in their lives.
That is profoundly rewarding. And, you know, I -- about five years ago when I had written my memoirs and I was on a road tour promoting my memoirs, and especially women would line up to get me to sign their books. And one would come along and say, remember that march in San Diego in '71 when we marched together against the war? And the next woman would come and say, oh, "Cat Blue," my favorite movie, it saved my life when I was depressed.
And then another woman would come and say that workout video you did helped me get over -- you know. And I realize that I have -- I have interacted with people in this country in so many different ways over the course of a long time. And it feels good, it really does.
MORGAN: Which is the movie that if you could be remembered for one you would choose?
FONDA: Well, I think the one I'll be remembered for is "Coming Home" because it was such a beautiful movie and such a universal -- so many girls have fathers that had a hard time loving them and people really identified with that movie and I think it really -- you know, a lot of people said to me, men and women, but mostly women, I saw the movie and then I went and I brought my father to see it and it changed our relationship.
So that's a movie that's been very meaningful to people. But I think, you know, "Coming Home," "Klute," it's hard to pick a -- "The Doll Maker" which I won an Emmy for. I mean there it's hard to pick one. It's like saying what's your favorite child. I'm proud of many of them.
MORGAN: Well, I've got a personal favorite.
FONDA: Which is yours?
MORGAN: I have a favorite, which is -- well, it's "On Golden Pond." And I want to come back and talk to you after the break specifically about that and about your father and your extraordinary family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FONDA: Maybe you and I should have the kind of relationship that we're supposed to have.
HENRY FONDA, ACTOR: What kind of relationship is that?
FONDA: Well, you know, like a -- like a father and a daughter.
H. FONDA: Just in the nick of time, huh? Worried about the will, are you? Well, I'm leaving everything to you except what I'm taking with me.
FONDA: Just stop it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Jane Fonda and her father, Henry Fonda, in 1981's "On Golden Pond."
There'll be very few, I guess, fathers and daughters performed together, let alone Oscar winning ones. When you look back on that, Jane, what was the experience like for you working so closely with your father?
FONDA: I feel so blessed, Piers, to have been able to have that experience. He died five months later. I bought the play. I made the movie because I wanted to work with him. And we knew he was dying. But to have found a play in which the father-daughter characters so mirrored our own real-life relationship was -- it was amazing. And to have been able to say those words to him and to have the resolution at the end of the movie, I mean I -- it's hard for me to look at the movie still even now. I just feel so lucky --
MORGAN: Yes, I could see. I could see the -- yes, I could see you looking away actually and I understood that, because, of course, throughout -- you're both movie stars, but for you, you're watching your father there. And it's -- this is shortly before he died.
FONDA: Yes. I miss him so much. I feel him so present in my life all the time. And that makes me very happy.
MORGAN: Well, what kind of man was he?
I mean, I've read a lot of reports over the years that he -- he could be prone to being cold and detached, that it wasn't always easy, as a father-daughter relationship.
But what would you say?
What would you think the honest portrayal of your father would be as a father?
FONDA: Well, let's start with the man. As a man, he was a man of profound integrity. He was a good man. He had good values. He had problems in the relationship department. He had problems with emotions, which is interesting for an actor, a hard time expressing emotions and being around someone who was emotional. It was absolutely terrifying to him.
You know, he was -- he was -- he was difficult. But he did his best. He did the best he could. And I was able to tell him that before he died.
And, you know, if there had been Prozac then, I think probably our lives would have been very different.
But he did the best he could. And I -- and I'm so grateful to him. And grateful -- whatever he didn't say to me, he communicated through his movies, "Twelve Angry Men," "Young Abe Lincoln," "The Wrong Man," you know, "Grapes of Wrath." These were the movies that meant something to him. These were the values that he held close to him.
And I knew that. And I think some of that seeped into me, the need for justice and equality and fairness and standing up for the underdog. That's -- that's what he represented. And -- and I'm proud in -- that in some small way, I'm his daughter.
MORGAN: It's interesting, I mean people have said to me when I -- I said I was interviewing you, you've got to be careful with Jane Fonda. She's feisty. You know, she'll be challenging and she'll be on you.
And I was like, yes, but I've watched interviews you've given before. And I -- I would describe it as more challenging and passionate, that you -- you take things seriously because you believe in them and you have this driven passion, which I've always assumed that you got from your father and from your strong family.
If you were analyzing yourself, what -- how would you describe your character?
FONDA: I don't see myself particularly as feisty. I -- I see myself as caring passionately about things. Now, my dad expressed what he cared passionately about differently than me. But that's a generational thing. You know, the -- he was of a generation when you, you know, you -- you -- you expressed yourself through voting. You know, he did the best he could because he always voted for the people that he thought would make a difference.
I was a protester. And it was hard for him to understand that.
So in that sense, we were different. But I -- you know, I'm my father's daughter in the sense that I -- I do believe strongly in things and -- and -- and, you know, I try to -- I try to manifest those things in my life and in the social-political activist work I do.
And in some of the movies --
MORGAN: But what do you think your --
FONDA: -- that I've made.
MORGAN: But what do you think your father would have made of the way that you have turned out?
FONDA: Well, he pretty much knew the way I had turned out. I mean, I was already turning out what -- who I am when he died. The one thing that I -- that I know that he would have been really happy about is that I was married to Ted Turner. I found out after my dad died that he was fascinated by Ted Turner. Dad loved the news. He was -- he was an avid reader of the news.
And he told a reporter that once interviewed me that he thought that Ted Turner was the greatest guy in the world because he started CNN. And dad never, you know, well, I kind of -- there was something about -- Ted and I -- the cover of -- of "Esquire" once had this part of the picture was Ted and this part was me or maybe it was the other way around. And when you put the two halves of our face together, it was my father.
And I -- Ted reminds me, in many ways, of my father. And -- and they both loved to fish. And sometimes I would be out there on a stream fishing with Ted and it was like my dad was there. And I -- I just thought, dad, I hope you know that I actually married this man who you loved and admired so much.
MORGAN: I had lunch with Ted Turner a few months ago and I -- I thought he was an utterly compelling man in every way.
FONDA: Totally. Yes.
MORGAN: Just a -- an irresistible life force. So I mean, I imagined that he would be, actually, not easy to live with, because he has his sort of burning energy all the time and need to keep doing stuff, which I -- I could imagine, given the way that you are, it was, you know, a -- a cocktail -- a heady cocktail, to put it mildly.
FONDA: We had a great time for 10 years. I am -- I just am so happy that I got to spend 10 years with him. It ended when it was supposed to end and we're very, very close. I just talked to him today. I told him I was going to be on the show. And I'm so proud of him. He's done so much good work in the world.
MORGAN: Yes, he has. An extraordinary man.
MORGAN: Let's take another break, Jane.
I want to come back and talk to you about workout videos, the exercise revolution that you helped start and have continued and how it can help me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FONDA: Two, three four. Three, six, seven, eight, nine --
MORGAN: That one of Jane Fonda's workout videos in the early '80s. And you have a new set of DVDs out, Jane. They're called the "Prime Time Series For The Baby Boomer Generation," which I guess given I've just become a father again, I'm one of those.
How are you going to get me back into shape with this DVD then?
FONDA: Well, first of all, you've got to do it.
Do you work out?
MORGAN: I try. You know, I sort of -- it's -- it's what I call a British workout, where you do it so that you can carry on eating and drinking.
(LAUGHTER) FONDA: Well, it's better than nothing.
FONDA: You know, when you're older, it's more important than ever than you sit -- that you stay physically active. I -- you know, I wrote this book, "Prime Time" about the last third of life.
And in doing the research over four years, I really was struck by the -- by what a difference it makes to -- not only to your body, but to your mind, to your -- to your self-esteem, to all kinds of things.
And -- and, you know, I thought well, older people can't do the -- the videos that I used to do. And they can't do the videos that most people are releasing right now. But I'm old and I've got a hip replacement and a knee replacement and I -- you know, I know how to make videos for people who are not fit and maybe people who've never worked out before. And -- and people who are older.
And I did two last year and they're best-sellers. And I get feedback from 40 -year-olds and 80 -year-olds. And it's really made a difference.
And so I -- I got motivated to do two more. And they're -- they're kind of like my older ones in the sense that I'm -- I'm back in a studio and I -- there's other people with me. And one thing that's really great and different is that we have live music. We have a band on the set with us. And it's just a lot of fun.
I want to get people to -- to stay active so that they can get up and down out of a chair, in and out of a car by themselves and pick up their grandchildren and back a car down a driveway looking over their shoulder. I mean, there's just all kinds of things that become harder as you get older.
But if you keep your bones moving and your muscles moving and your heart pumping and your -- the brain working, it's going to be a lot easier.
And I -- and they're effective and I -- and they're fun. So I'm real proud of them.
MORGAN: You've gone through your life never, it seems to me, ever being entirely happy with your body.
How do you feel about it now?
Have you learned to -- to love yourself?
FONDA: I grew up thinking that if you weren't perfect that no one would love you. And I -- I was that way for quite a long time. And you can't really be super happy if you think you're supposed to be perfect because we're not perfect and we're not supposed to be perfect. It took me a long time to say, OK, I'm good enough, good enough is good enough.
Am I 100 percent that way?
No, frankly. I'm a creature of the '50s and, you know, I'll never entirely get over it. But I'm not compulsive anymore. I don't work out compulsively. I -- you know, I -- I have a boyfriend that thinks that I'm just fine. Yes, I feel OK about myself.
I'm not perfect and I don't care anymore. And I'm not making these --
FONDA: -- these videos so that people can look like me. And people know that. I'm just trying to make people, you know, feel good. One of the things that I love so much -- because I didn't used to be healthy and I didn't used to work out. This -- this came to me rather in my 40s, in fact. And one of the things that I learned that, to me, is so beautiful, is how it changes your head.
It changes your feelings about yourself and your attitude about the world. You gain self-esteem. You think more clearly. Those endorphins start to pump and it's just easier to, you know, to -- to deal with the problems of life when you remain physically active.
And the chances are if you do it for you, that you'll like yourself more and then you'll tend to find people being attracted to you.
MORGAN: How many times do you think you've properly been in love in your life?
FONDA: Oh, maybe five times. That's a lot. But I'm old, so --
MORGAN: That is quite a lot.
FONDA: It's --
MORGAN: But you've done well.
FONDA: Yes, I have.
MORGAN: And if you could take --
FONDA: I've been lucky.
MORGAN: -- if you could take one of those people to a desert island for the rest of your life who -- and it can't be your current partner, but -- so we'll have to eliminate him from this particular --
FONDA: It would be my girlfriends.
MORGAN: -- investigation.
FONDA: It would be my girlfriends.
MORGAN: Well, if I -- but if I forced you to take one of the men you've loved in your life, who would it be? FONDA: You -- you couldn't. You couldn't.
FONDA: No. Been there, done that. I mean, I'm very happy right now. I have a lover and I'm real -- real happy. But I wouldn't particularly want to go to a desert island. I think the longest lived relationships are my girlfriends.
Women have a whole network of -- of nurturing, emotional relationships. And in terms of longevity, put me on a desert island with a bunch of women friends.
MORGAN: You'd probably have a happier time.
Let's take a final break, Jane, and come back.
I want to talk to you about Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson and what has been the greatest moment of your life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FONDA: Oh, congratulations. I can't believe this. I'm so happy.
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MORGAN: After 15 years of not acting, Jane Fonda burst back onto the scene with a 2005 film, "Monster-In-Law" with Jennifer Lopez. You said a few times, Jane, it's one of the best career moves you've made that.
FONDA: Well, it was a fantastic role. It was different than anything that I've ever done. And I knew, having spent 10 years with Ted Turner, that I knew how to play outrageous and over the top in a way that was also loveable. He taught me that.
FONDA: And it was just -- it was a fabulous part. And I knew that people would come to the movie because of Jennifer. And they would discover -- rediscover Jane Fonda.
MORGAN: I want to talk to you about two very iconic people in the world of entertainment, Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson. You knew them both. And Marilyn has a new film out at the moment about a very, very good movie. And I interviewed Michel Williams about it last week.
What do you think the biggest misconception about Marilyn was? FONDA: I was very, very drawn to her. She -- to me, she was like a golden child. She radiated light and vulnerability. And I think that she was attracted to me as -- she used to gravitate a little bit to me at parties, because she knew that I was not very secure, either. And -- and she was fragile. And -- and -- and I -- I was very touched by her.
Michael Jackson, also, someone who was fragile. You know, the -- the -- both of them had these -- these beyond famous iconic images. And yet in their innermost selves, they were very, very vulnerable, damaged people. And it was a -- the tension between those two things, perhaps, that -- that made them so brilliant in their -- each in their own way.
I mean Michael, what a genius in terms of music and dancing and moves and the impact that he had on -- on our musical culture. It's just amazing.
And yet, you know, I lived with him for a week when I was making "On Golden Pond." He came and he wanted to watch my father and Katharine Hepburn work. He was interested in becoming a movie actor.
And we would stay up at night talking. And you know, there was this part of him that was like a lost soul. And then there was this other part of him that was a savvy, brilliant businessman and inspired talent.
So that -- it was -- you know, it was just very attractive to be around people with that kind of -- those kind of contradictions.
MORGAN: When -- when you saw the -- the tragic way that Michael Jackson's life ended and the trial and everything else, what was your view of that?
I mean do you think that Michael, in the end, just became a -- an awful kind of celebrity cliche, in a sense, that he was, you know, apparently just living off all these drugs and doctors were preying on him and so on and so on. Is -- was that always going to be the way that someone as genius like but tormented as him was going to go?
FONDA: Just because one is absolutely brilliant doesn't mean you have to be screwed up.
I think that -- I don't think it's a celebrity cliche, what happened to Michael, either. But I do think -- I remember once, he was visiting me. I had a ranch in Santa Barbara and in California. And he came and visited me once. And I was walking him around. It's how he was introduced to that area where he eventually bought Never Never Land is when I had him to my ranch.
And I was walking around and showing him the ranch. And I pointed to a place at the edge of the cliff and I said that's where I -- where I'm going to be buried. And I thought he was going to have a meltdown. He -- he -- the notion that I could countenance the fact that I was going to die as anathema to him. He just -- he screamed.
And he talked about how he would get into an oxygen tank and he thought that was going to keep him, you know, alive for -- forever.
I -- I think growing old would have been very, very, very difficult for Michael. There was a lot of demons chasing that kid and -- and I think it would have been hard for him.
I -- I wish it had happened another way. But it's hard to imagine that someone that was as tormented as he was, you know, could have sort of lived a long and peaceful and natural life. I just don't think so.
MORGAN: No, I agree. It's very sad.
MORGAN: And, Jane, when you think of -- as I said at the start of the interview, you've had an extraordinary life.
When you look back at it all, with the exception of marriage and the birth of children, what would you say has been the greatest moment of your life?
FONDA: I know. You asked me that right before the break, so I've spent the break trying to figure it out.
And you know something? It's really hard. Right now. I -- I don't know. I'm -- I've learned and I've made a conscious effort to learn to be right here and now. I've had incredible experiences in my life, like when I picked up the Oscar for my father for "On Golden Pond" and my -- two of my own Oscars. And -- and all, you know, just -- I think I'm happiest when I'm up at the top of a mountain about 14 feet high -- 14,000 feet high.
And I've done that a lot. And I love being out in nature very high up, where the air is thin. Those are, perhaps, my happiest times.
But I don't know. I don't think back. Right now is -- I -- I'm -- I've never been happier, frankly. And that's the truth. I'm not being coy.
MORGAN: Well, that's a perfectly good answer. I -- you've never been happier. And I've got to say --
MORGAN: -- it's been a fascinating -- a fascinating interview.
Jane, you've been exactly how I hoped you would be, formidable and challenging but also very, very interesting to listen to. I could have done that for hours.
So thank you very much.
FONDA: Well, thank you.
And have a nice baby. I'm glad that you're a new father. That's exciting.
MORGAN: I agree.
FONDA: Try to get some sleep.
MORGAN: I agree.
OK, I'll try.
Thank you very much.
MORGAN: Tomorrow, Patricia Cornwell, best selling author of murder mysteries about a hard as nails medical examiner. And also, just as controversial, is the character she created, Rashida Jones, star of the new Muppet movie. With a famous father and mother, she has show business firmly in her blood,.
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MORGAN: Why aren't you, as a product of two superstars, just lying on sun lounger, in a bikini, spending daddy's money, being a brat?
UNIDENTIFIED: That's a really good question. I often ask myself that.
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MORGAN: Rashida Jones and Patricia Cornwell tomorrow night. And that's it for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.