Jane Fonda Praises Intimacy Coordinators And The Increased Presence Of Women On Film Sets

Two-time Oscar winner and seven-time nominee Jane Fonda has spoken out in support of intimacy coordinators and having more women on film sets. The 85-year-old actress and activist has a new movie in theaters this Friday, "80 for Brady," in which she, Lily Tomlin, Rita Moreno, and Sally Field star as four ladies who set out on a wild road trip to the Super Bowl to see their favorite NFL player, quarterback Tom Brady, play. Based on a true story, the film happens to be set in 2017, which became a pivotal year for the entertainment industry as it began to reckon with long-standing abuses of power.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Fonda — who was involved in the civil rights movement in the 1960s and has been an advocate for feminist causes — lamented that it took white "movie stars" to create a real groundswell for the #MeToo movement in 2017. "It saddens me," she said, "but it didn't surprise me. Black women came forward long ago, and it didn't get the attention. But at least now, it's talked about."

Fonda has been candid about her own experience with sexual assault in the past. In March 2017, in an interview for The Edit with future "Captain Marvel" star Brie Larson (via People), she revealed, "I've been raped, I've been sexually abused as a child and I've been fired because I wouldn't sleep with my boss. I always thought it was my fault; that I didn't do or say the right thing."

Months later, multiple women, including well-known actresses such as Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mira Sorvino, and Rosanna Arquette, came forward with their own experiences of sexual harassment and assault at the hands of producer and now-convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein.

'I was hoping that it would matter, and it did'

Following Harvey Weinstein's public downfall, the ensuing "Weinstein effect" spread outward from Hollywood to other industries and countries, exposing more men who had abused their power. Jane Fonda addressed the advances the #MeToo movement has made six years later:

"I was hoping that it would matter, and it did. A lot of people in the beginning thought [#MeToo] went too far, canceling and all that kind of thing. All movements do in the beginning. They all do. They can't be perfect out of the box. But it has emboldened women to speak. I honestly don't know if it's caused men to think twice. I really don't."

In 2022, films like "Tár," "She Said," and "Women Talking" continued the #MeToo conversation. Behind the scenes, the likes of HBO's "House of the Dragon" showed the effect that intimacy coordinators can have on making sex scenes more comfortable for actresses — especially for a franchise such as "Game of Thrones," which has been accused of gratuitous sexual violence before. While some actors (here's looking at you, Sean Bean) may struggle to accept this much-needed evolution, Fonda can only imagine how much intimacy coordinators might have improved things for her generation:

"What a difference it would've made in terms of my comfort. I missed out on that one. It's hard even to describe the difference when you're the only [woman] on a set, literally the only."

Sally Field felt "a whole different energy" on the "80 for Brady" set, as there were "women all over the place." She added: "It's that love affair that we all had with each other. Lily [Tomlin] and Jane [Fonda] and Rita [Moreno] make me funnier and bigger and braver than I think I am."