It might have been the most captivating moment on the first week of Megyn Kelly’s new morning show.
On Wednesday, after Kelly asked Jane Fonda about her plastic surgery, Fonda rolled her eyes.
“We really want to talk about that right now?” Fonda asked, aghast.
What Fonda wanted to talk about is her new Netflix movie co-starring Robert Redford, “Our Souls at Night.”
Redford, who first worked with Fonda in 1966 in “The Chase” and then “Barefoot in the Park,” sat next to Fonda on the Megyn Kelly Today set.
In the film, Fonda, 79, and Redford, 81, play widowed neighbors in a small Colorado town.
“You kind of have a choice in life when you get close to 80 or even before then, what you want to do with your life,” Fonda said on Kelly’s show, moving the subject from style to substance. “And my character, Addie, in this movie, she knows there’s a lot more time behind her than there is in front, and she doesn’t want to go down lonely and scared.”
Addie gets up her courage and asks her neighbor, played by Redford, to sleep with her. Just sleep with her — nothing more.
What happens next? You’ll have to see “Our Souls at Night.”
For Fonda, what happens next is a driving force.
“She always moves forward,” Redford said, telling Kelly about one trait he admires in Fonda.
Indeed, when an audience member asked the actors what time in their lives they’d like to relive, Redford responded that he’d relive his teenage years. Fonda said: “Now.”
She doesn’t look back, she said — and that trait could be key to others seeking a way to stay young beyond Botox.
In a Ted talk Fonda gave recently, she said she has been happier “inside oldness” than she was when she was younger and fearing what might happen.
She thinks of age “not as a pathology but as a potential.”
“This is not what I expected, trust me,” Fonda says in the talk. “I come from a long line of depressives. As I was approaching my late 40s, when I would wake up in the morning, my first six thoughts would all be negative. And I got scared. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh. I’m going to become a crotchety old lady.’ But now that I am actually smack-dab in the middle of my own third act, I realize I’ve never been happier. I have such a powerful feeling of well-being. And I’ve discovered that when you’re inside oldness, as opposed to looking at it from the outside, fear subsides. You realize you’re still yourself — maybe even more so. Picasso once said, ‘It takes a long time to become young.’”
The ability to keep moving forward and not getting stuck in the past is crucial to healthy aging, says Kim Giuliani, a clinical psychologist from Palm Beach Gardens who counsels seniors at the NuVista community in Wellington.
“Having a purpose and something to contribute — that is important,” she says. “We all have something to contribute, even if that means contributing to a conversation across the dinner table.”
Fonda has said she decided to change her life when she was 62, and she made the painful decision to divorce her third husband, Ted Turner.
“I loved him very much,” Fonda said in an episode of “Oprah’s Master Class,” “but I knew that I would die married, rich — but not whole.”
She moved into her daughter’s house with her golden retriever, and “it was perfect.”
“I could feel myself move back into myself,” Fonda said. “Whatever was in front of me, I would do it as a whole person.”
Fonda’s career is going strong. Her Netflix series with Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie,” is a hit, and her new movie reunites her with Redford.
“Isn’t he gorgeous?” she asked Ellen DeGeneres on her show last week. “I’ve been in bed with him a lot.”
There’s a love scene in “Our Souls at Night,” she said. “I’m happy with the love scene. I’m unhappy because it was so short!”
She repeated that at a press conference for the Venice Film Festival, saying that she was thrilled to “kiss him (Redford) in my 20s in ‘Barefoot in the Park’ and to kiss him in my almost-80s.’”
Those two films bookend each other, she said — because her character in both is the “spark plug who’s always moving him forward.”
In real life and reel life, sex gets better with age, both stars said.
Why? “We’re braver! We have nothing to lose,” Fonda said. “So, my skin sags. So what? So does his.”