By EW Staff
Updated March 17, 2020 at 02:48 AM EDT
Jane Fonda, Jennifer Lopez, ...
Credit: Monster In-Law: Melissa Moseley
  • Movie

When Jane Fonda first met director Robert Luketic, who earned his leading-lady-handling credentials with Reese Witherspoon on Legally Blonde, she was shocked. ”She peeled off her sunglasses as only a movie star can,” says Luketic, 32. ”She took one look and said, ‘My God, you’re so young.’ I went bright red. I mean, what do you say to that?”

What everybody said pretty quickly was, Let’s make a movie. For her first role in 15 years, Fonda looked into playing a less cartoonish mom in Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown (a part that subsequently went to Susan Sarandon). But she signed on instead for Viola Fields, a diva driven nearly mad with disapproval when her handsome-doctor son (Michael Vartan, from TV’s Alias) gets engaged to a dog-walking, catering-hall-waitress temp (Jennifer Lopez). So what about that vow Fonda made that she’d never act again, after quitting the business not long after she married Ted Turner? ”I’m a very different person than I was 15 years ago,” Fonda says. ”I wanted to see how that would manifest in making movies — if it would be as agonizing as it had been. It wasn’t. It was a total blast.”

Wanda Sykes (a veteran tormentor of Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm) plays Fonda’s long-suffering personal assistant, and recalls some of her fun with Jane: ”There’s a scene where we fight in the kitchen over some gravy. She’d tell me, ‘C’mon, get into it. This has to look real!’ I went home with bruises a couple of days, because she really was tussling.”


  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 95 minutes
  • Robert Luketic