Jane Fonda said she “kind of fell apart” doing the first season of Netflix’s Grace and Frankie, having never been a regular on episodic television. “It was really hard,” Fonda said this afternoon during Neftlix’s star-studded Rebels an Rule Breakers Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, in partnership with Women in Film and SAG-AFTRA.
“I went back into therapy and I got an acting coach.”
“It’s true! and I’m proud of that at my age,” she said as the audience reacted. Now at work on Season 3 “it’s like ‘this is easy!’,” she said.
As for rebelling, Fonda said simply “most of my rebellion I’ve save for real life.”
Moving to Netflix as a late night host gave Chelsea Handler the “perfect excuse” to challenge herself and “to get less stupid,” she weighed in.
“I had to grow up a little bit,” Handler said. In response to a comment from moderator Stacey Wilson Hunt, New York Magazine/Vulture’s Hollywood editor, about the late night talk show format being “so overwrought,” Handler said a host must “be absolutely authentic to who you are” in order to dodge the “staleness of the talk show format.” Her Netflix show still is a work in progress, she said.
As for being rebellious, Handler insisted she’s not trying to be, “it just appears that way.
“If I think something is unfair, I have no problem kicking and screaming about it. I’m the youngest of six children, so I know how to throw a tantrum. As you get older it becomes a different tantrum, but I still know how to get on the floor and throw it.” It’s particularly important for women in the entertainment industry to insist “I know this is right, let’s move forward on it.”
Women are taught to be polite, said Master of None’s Lena Waithe, which makes it easier to be taken advantage of, or ignored. “I would rather be a person who stood her ground and demanded respect.”
Chef’s Table director Abby Fuller was inclined to agree. In Berlin, she dealt with a male chef who “was a very masculine ego driven character. I don’t think he ever had anybody who looks like me telling him what to do before.” It was very challenging she said, because the inclination is to “be that polite, agreeable person.”
Grace and Frankie being on Netflix, “dry vaginas we can talk about,” creator/show runner Marta Kauffman said. “We can tackle issues about ageing and being a woman, in deeper weight, not just the comedy, but what’ss really going on for these women at this age. Kauffman said she’s been surprised when informed the show does well with younger audience.
There was lots of talk, across two large panel chats, about women supporting each other. But Kauffman told about being interviewed by a female journalists from Philadelphia during her second season making NBC’s Friends, and what it was like, as a feminist to be working for “the person who was head of the network at that point” who ” was a man and came from sports, and brought a certain machismo.” Kauffman pointedly did not name the exec, or the journalist, but serious students of TV In the room may have recognized the references.
Kauffman said she declined to answer the question so the TV critic suggested it be “off the record,” Kauffman said.
“So, it was printed,” she remembered, darkly. “And he was very upset.” To apologize, she sent said exec a basket of tampons, nail polish, etc. “I was very proud of it.”
“I was thinking about the beauty rule for women,” Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s Carol Kane weighed in.
‘I have to fight all the time to be brave enough to be true to myself and to my characters, to take care of them in a way that might go past being pretty…That’s very hard, because I really want to be the prettiest girl in the room. It’s what we have been told to strive for…And I still want that. So I have to really work and be brave to break through.”