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Jane Fonda, Stephen Colbert
Screenshot: The Late Show

People have a lot of feelings about Jane Fonda, stemming from her 60-plus years of movie (and now streaming) stardom, and vocal, sometimes controversial activism. But the 82-year-old Oscar winner doesn’t seem much interested in appeasing those who think that rich, white movie stars should stay in their lane (unless they happen to agree with you, of course), telling Stephen Colbert on Monday’s Late Show that her spate of recent arrests at a series of Washington D.C. climate change protests are just the latest—and most pressing—cause she’s thrown her considerable celebrity weight behind. “These are times that require that we go beyond our comfort zones,” explained Fonda, telling Colbert that her commitment to what’s been termed “Fire Drill Friday” acts of civil disobedience in the nation’s capital stems from the terrifying fact that, according to her, scientists, and everyone not living in the pocket of fossil fuel lobbyists, we’re about 10 years from the point of no return, should humankind want a livable, sustainable environment for generations to come. Said Fonda of her five (she thinks) arrests so far at the protests, “I wasn’t doing enough” in going through the usual channels (“petitioning, and writing, and marching, and begging”), leading her to think, “I’m famous, I have a platform—I’ll move to D.C. and I’ll put my body on the line.”

Apart from being 82, Fonda told Colbert she’s aware that her position in going to the clink is unique compared to most of her fellow other protesters in that, as she put it, “Look, I’m white, and I’m famous, so, you know, what happens to me is different.” Still, getting arrested is no fun for anyone, so she answered Colbert’s call for jailhouse advice by telling him to have a valid photo ID, fifty bucks (which she said her organization will front protestors if they don’t have bail money at hand), and to dress in layers, as that extra sweater can make a good makeshift pillow. Having now been hauled in by the D.C. police (including on the eve of her 82nd birthday on the December 20th Fire Drill Friday, Fonda admitted that she’s been a “bad influence,” roping in her Grace And Frankie co-stars Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen, among many other famous friends and admirers, to follow her to the slammer. Calling Waterston “a self-described moderate,” Fonda yet explained that the 79-year-old actor recently sent her another picture of himself in handcuffs, having been arrested as part of the student protests against climate change at the Harvard-Yale football game in November. (Veteran activist Sheen’s been arrested some 75 times in his life, according to Fonda, “a walking example” of what Colbert—quoting Congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis calls “good trouble.”)


Fonda, who said that actors Joaquin Phoenix and Maggie Gyllenhaal are on deck to be the latest stars to follow her into a cell at this week’s Fire Drill Friday, told people, “You’re aligning your body, your whole self with your values, and you feel very integrated and empowered.” Also a walking refutation of that whole “Okay, Boomer” stereotype, Fonda, noting that Greenpeace is taking over the Fire Drill Fridays movement, which is looking to spread across the country, Fonda gave out the number to text (877877) should viewers wish to follower her into some more good trouble.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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