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Jane Fonda on What Actors Can Learn From Athletes



In 80 for Brady, Jane Fonda plays a diehard fan on a quest to get to the Super Bowl with her three best friends. In reality, the two-time Oscar winner has a more… casual relationship with the sport.

“I know nothing about football,” Fonda said The News84Media. “Watching football makes my body hurt, when I see these guys flying through the air and then landing.”

But during the making of 80 for Brady, which Tom Brady produced and stars in, Fonda said she developed a deep appreciation for the former quarterback, who announced his retirement from the NFL on Feb. 1, two days before Paramount opened the sports comedy in theaters.

“I’ve watched enough to know that Tom Brady is a GOAT,” Fonda said. “It’s just awesome what he does. No matter what sport, I’m in awe of great athletes. And I was so surprised when I met Brady, how humble he seems. How can you be humble when you’re that talented and that beautiful?”

Fonda—whom many would consider a GOAT in her own field, for her performances in culture shifting movies like Klute, Coming Home and 9 to 5— believes that great athletes actually have something to teach actors. As a fan, her sport of choice is baseball, a love fostered while she was married to ex-husband Ted Turner, former owner of the Atlanta Braves.

“Ted and I, we would sit in the box right down on the field so I could really watch the players,” Fonda said. “I came to admire them so much. For us [actors] it’s like, ‘Okay, cut. Take two.’ And you have a second chance or a third chance. And then there’s the editing room where they can cover up your mistakes. Not with them. Bottom of the ninth, and you’re up at bat, and it’s going to all depend on you. Oh my God. And I always thought, ‘Thank God I’m not his mother. I’d be having a heart attack.’”

While watching the best players, Fonda thought back to something she learned when she attended private lessons with Method acting coach Lee Strasberg in the 1950s. “Here’s one of the things that I noticed, which went back to my training—the difference between good and great,” Fonda said. “The good players, if they struck out for example, they’d want everyone in the stands to know that they know that they fucked up. And they get all tense and tight.”

But, be it on the set, or the field, Fonda said, “The great ones: cool as cucumbers. Everything is relaxed. And that’s one of the most important things, is being relaxed.”

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