There were several people shaking their heads in confusion when Jane Fonda was cast as Nancy Reagan in the new movie The Butler. The actress was an outspoken activist who protested the Vietnam war and even earned the nickname Hanoi Jane.
Now, with The Butler hitting theaters, Jane Fonda’s Vietnam past could start hurting ticket sales. A few groups are protesting the film and at least one movie theater has refused to show it.
Ike Boutwell, a Korean and Vietnam war veteran, said that he won’t show The Butler at his two movie theaters in Elizabethtown because he refuses to show a film featuring Jane Fonda.
Boutwell said: “I trained hundreds of pilots to fly, many of whom Ms. Fonda clapped and cheered as they were shot down.”
Fonda acknowledged that playing Nancy Reagan would cause some controversy but the actress said that if it gets people talking about the movie it will also get people to see the movie.
Fonda said: “The idea that I could play Nancy Reagan was just too much to resist. I thought it would be fun to play her. I know people say, ‘Oh my gosh, Jane Fonda’s playing Nancy Reagan,’ but I don’t think that whatever differences that there might be in our politics really matters… You know, as an actor, I approach her as a human being, and I happen to know that she’s not unhappy that I’m playing her.”
Jane Fonda’s Vietnam past may keep some people from seeing the new movie but The Butler still managed to top the box office weekend last week. The Butler opened at 2,933 theaters and earned $24.6 million.