Jane Fonda’s casting as former First Lady Nancy Reagan in the upcoming film The Butler raised some eyebrows, but a recent boycott of the flick is gaining serious momentum. To those who would sit Fonda’s Reagan performance out, the 75-year-old actress says “get a life.”
The Butler, directed by Lee Daniels, is based on the life of Eugene Allen (played by Forest Whitaker), a butler who served eight Presidents of the United States in the White House until he retired in 1986.
The film covers his career, and stars Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan and Fonda as Nancy.
Though presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson are also covered in the film, some critics have specifically taken issue with the casting of Fonda, an outspoken liberal, as Nancy Reagan, and are threatening to boycott the film.
Larry Reyes, a Navy veteran who runs the Facebook page “Boycott Hanoi Jane Playing Nancy Reagan” has been especially outspoken in his criticism.
A quick recap: That “Hanoi Jane” nickname comes from Fonda’s visit to Hanoi in 1972, during which she dusted up significant controversy with criticisms of the American presence in Vietnam, as well as a photograph of the actress sitting playfully on an NVA anti-aircraft gun.
Though Fonda has repeatedly apologized publicly to Vietnam veterans and those offended by her actions, but she has never really lived that nickname down.
Hence, Reyes’ criticism.
“Growing up in a military family I heard my father and uncles talk about what Jane did, so from an early age I knew about her history with the war and how upset veterans were about it. Yet it amazed me that people just turned their backs and kept supporting her exercise videos and movies. I made a commitment early on not to support her projects,” Reyes told FOX 411.
“Then when I heard she was going to play such a well-liked and highly respected president’s wife, it got to me. They (the filmmakers) knew by picking Jane for the part they were going to stir up some stuff. I’m not a conservative or a liberal, I’m an American. And that was a slap in the face.”
When word of the boycott got back to Fonda, she had a simple response: “Get a life.”
She continued, “If it creates hoopla, it will cause more people to see the movie… I figured it would tweak the right. Who cares?”
Reyes, for one. And the 3,400 people who “like” his page.
Though Reyes concedes that Fonda had “every right” to protest the Vietnam War, he believes her actions as “Hanoi Jane” crossed the line. Further, he doesn’t much care for her far-left politics, particularly when she has amassed a fortune through her film career and exercise videos.
“Jane seems to love everything communist, but when it comes to making money she’s a gold capitalist. It’s my right to protest this film, and if I can stop a few people from seeing it, I will be happy.”
What do you think? Is Jane Fonda’s casting as Nancy Reagan something worth protesting and boycotting a film over, or should her critics, as she says, “get a life?”
[Image via: cinemafestival / Shutterstock.com]