Thursday, September 13, 2012

Jane As Nancy - Inspired Or Insulting?

My initial reaction when I read the headline was that some things just shouldn't be.  One is Jane Fonda playing Nancy Reagan in a movie.

Granted there has been a lot of misinformation about Ms. Fonda, never to be forgotten by a certain generation as Hanoi Jane.  She has been accused of deeds that supposedly led to torture and even the deaths of men who were prisoners of war.
These have been rebutted by many who were named.  Thank heavens for that.

It does not dispel the fact that she was the guest of the North Vietnamese during the war and photographed sitting by an anti aircraft gun.  A Hollywood star should certainly understand the power of images, but she explained she was tired from her trip and didn't realize until afterwards the implications of that photograph.

So why did she go?  She was against the war.  So was most of the nation.  Did she really think she could help?

I wonder about Hollywood types who are political activists in the first place.  As private people they certainly have the right, but to use their celebrity  seems to be of little value in most cases.  It gives them no credibility what-so-ever other than a recognizable name.  It always generates publicity, good or bad, as if that's the most important thing to them.  Perhaps it is.  Mostly we ignore them.  That seems fitting.  But in Ms. Fonda's case, true or not, she appeared to be consorting with the enemy and all the denials in the world will not change that perception.

So to cast her in a movie as Nancy Reagan astounds me.  Mrs. Reagan, widow of one of the most popular of our recent Presidents,  took on as one of her many  causes the welfare of  Vietnam veterans as well as fundraising and lobbying for former prisoners of war and those missing in action.  She even donated proceeds from a syndicated column to The National League of Families of American POW-MIAs.

Normally I'd think little of casting.  Meryl Streep as Julia Child seemed a stretch just like Tom Selleck as Eisenhower, but that's Hollywood.  Both did stellar jobs in those roles.

There are, though, some things that just shouldn't be.  I think Jane Fonda playing Nancy Reagan is one of them.  At least they didn't cast her as Margaret Thatcher.  Another role that went to Streep.  Bet she could play Nancy Reagan too, just as well and without the baggage.

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