Nancy Reagan is apparently “not unhappy” that political opposite Jane Fonda will be playing the former First Lady in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, a new film from The Weinstein Company.
Deadline first reported the comments in a First Look video piece on Thursday. The clip, which you can watch below, reveals a scene from the film as well as a brief interview with Fonda about taking on the role.
“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,” Fonda said.
Fonda then implied that she had received the blessing of the former First Lady, though Reagan has not commented publicly on her feelings about the casting choice.
“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” Fonda said.
The casting decision sparked immediate outrage among veterans’ families, who still remember Jane Fonda as “Hanoi Jane,” far-left liberal and communist sympathizer, who posed playfully for a photo with the enemy while sitting on a NVA anti-aircraft gun during the Vietnam War.
The page, “Boycott Hanoi Jane Playing Nancy Reagan” amassed 3,400 likes at the time, but has since grown to 21,260 in a little more than three months.
Fonda hasn’t seemed too concerned about the effort. To her military critics, she said, “Get a life,” adding, “If it creates hoopla, it will cause more people to see the movie… I figured it would tweak the right. Who cares?”
Yet page organizer Larry Reyes, a Navy veteran in a multi-generational military family, doesn’t think of himself as conservative or liberal, and he’s fuming.
“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…. It’s my right to protest this film, and if I can stop a few people from seeing it, I will be happy,” Reyes said.
Here’s that clip:
What do you think of Jane Fonda playing Nancy Reagan, and will you be seeing Lee Daniels’ The Butler?