"My secret is attitude," Jane Fonda says during a phone interview from her New York hotel suite. "I've discovered that you can have a robust, love-filled, sexy life at any age."
"Age is about attitude," she says.
It's a thrill to talk to the screen legend about her new film "Peace, Love & Misunderstanding."
First, we have to mull over her seven plus decades on this earth.
Fonda says that she doesn't wish to be young again.
"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. If you can add love to aging then you will radiate happiness."
Jane Fonda on Her New Film: "Peace, Love & Misunderstanding"
In her new movie "Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding," Fonda is a freewheeling granny 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 turns out this grandma isn't sitting in her rocker.
"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, 'Did 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," she says.
"I don't do that in life," Fonda adds. "That's why, despite the fact that I never really had any hippie days in my life, I feel so much freer than this character in so many ways."
Resolving Her Own Issues
The film revolves around the anger issues between parent and children. Fonda, whose father was legendary actor Henry Fonda, says that the issue hit home.
"I had my issues with my father," she says. "It's funny because now I'm the elder trying to make amends with my children. I have a daughter and we've had issues.
"It's an old story," she says with a sigh.
At age 74, she mentions that she wants to make films that might surprise people about aging in other ways.
"I love that the woman I play in this movie is in her 70s and has lovers," she says. "That's an important thing when you're older. It's crucial to tell people that if you choose to be you can still be sensual and robust when it comes to your love life."
Jane also has a plum role on the new HBO series "Newsroom" created by Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin ("The Social Network" and Emmy winner for "The West Wing"). The series debuts on 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."
"It's a fun show," she says.
Fonda admits that there was a time when she thought about getting out of the movie business.
"I left movies because I was very unhappy as a woman," she says. "I found it hard to be creative when my second marriage was falling apart. 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."
She wanted to act again.
"I knew I could find joy in acting again," she says.
"Honestly, I fell in love with acting again. It was easier to do it, too," she says.
"I think my ease with acting stemmed from the fact that I had become a much easier person," she says. "Everything just felt easier.
"I've found that when you get older, life really does get easier if you're healthy," she says.
How She Stays So Thin and Gorgeous
Fonda is one of the original exercise gurus with her series of DVDs insists that she will never lament getting older.
"We have no choice, but to get older," she says. "What is the alternative. I know that there are people who are miserable and sad about getting older, but what's the point.
"I did a book about aging," says Fonda of her tome "Prime Time" "My research showed me that most people over 50 are happier. They've also found that life is easier. It's a philosophy that you don't have to agonize over things as much. You only have to pay attention to what's really important."
Fonda says that she makes sure to keep her body healthy.
"I laid a good foundation for myself many years ago, but moving almost every single day," she says. "I have suffered from osteo-arthritis. I've had a knee and hip replacement. My father had the same issues, but thank God I'm strong and I healed."
Does she ever pop in a vintage Jane Fonda workout DVD? She laughs.
"I don't do my older workout tapes," she says. "I've started a new brand series of workout DVDs called Prime Time for older people who have never worked out.
"The most important thing is to stay physically active," she says. "It makes me sad to hear people who say, 'I can't do what I used to do, so now I don't do anything.' I just tell them that I don't run these days. I walk. It's still moving."
As for a few fine lines, Fonda is fretting them. Fonda says she doesn't mind a few fine lines, but she isn't above doing something about them.
"I'm not saying, 'Who cares?'" she says with a laugh. "I've been pretty honest about having some surgery under my eyes. I haven't tried to hide it. But I haven't done so much that my wrinkles are gone.
"I don't want my wrinkles gone," she insists. "They're the map of my life."