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At 74, Jane Fonda’s all about the attitude

This image released by IFC Films shows Elizabeth Olsen left Jane Fondscene from 'Peace Love Misunderstanding.' (AP Photo/IFC Films)

This image released by IFC Films shows Elizabeth Olsen, left, and Jane Fonda in a scene from "Peace Love and Misunderstanding." (AP Photo/IFC Films)

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Read Hedy Weiss’ review of “Stuffed and Unstrung” at

Updated: June 12, 2012 10:47PM

Jane Fonda — actress, activist, acclaimed Hollywood royalty — refuses to slow down.

At age 74, she’s in the new movie “Peace, Love & Misunderstanding” (now in theaters) and has a plum role on the upcoming HBO series “Newsroom.”

“My motto is, ‘The old broad fooled them again,’ ” says the screen legend during a phone interview from New York.

“My secret is attitude. I’ve discovered that you can have a robust, love-filled, sexy life at any age.”

Being young, she insists, is overrated.

“You can be young and perfect in so many ways, but what does that really mean?” she poses. “I think age allows you to sit up straight and have some starch in your spine. If you can add love to aging then you will radiate happiness.”

In “Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding,” Fonda embraces aging as a pot-smoking grandmother named Grace who lives out in the country. She welcomes her estranged, about-to-be-divorced daughter (Catherine Keener) and grown grandkids (Elizabeth Olsen and Nat Wolff) for the summer.

“It was so much fun to play her because I’ve never played a hippie,” Fonda says. “This is a character who seems truly free, but I saw a sadness in her.

“Underneath this is a woman who hasn’t seen her daughter for 20 years and had never met her grandchildren. At one point, Jeffrey Dean Morgan tells my screen daughter, ‘Didn’t it ever occur to you that she’s lonely? She has all these lovers because she’s trying to fill an empty place in her heart?’

“I think it’s true. Many of us do so many things to fill in the empty places.”

In “Newsroom,” created by Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin (“The Social Network”) and premiering June 24, “I play a cross between Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner,” she says. “I play the person who runs the whole big company. The newsroom is a small part of my empire, but it can upset everything.”

At one point, Fonda thought about quitting films. “I found it hard to be creative when my marriage [to Tom Hayden] was falling apart,” she said. “I was very unhappy as a person and I didn’t want to be creative anymore.

“I was about to leave Hollywood and become a full-time activist. Then Ted Turner came along and I didn’t have to work. After that marriage ended, I wrote my memoir. When I finished, I realized that I was a very different person again.”

Big Picture News Inc.

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