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During a trip she made to Hanoi as an anti-war activist at the height of the Vietnam War, Jane Fonda posed for a photo she would forever regret.
In the controversial picture, the actress is seen sitting astride a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun, laughing with locals.
Now, a play aiming to tell the truth behind the photo is premiering at the Edinburgh fringe festival.
‘The Trial of Jane Fonda’ dramatises a meeting that took place later between Fonda and Vietnam veterans, where she apologised for the harm she caused.
Fonda herself has not been involved in the play, written and directed by award-winning director Terry Jastrow, but he explained there was a connection: “She (Jane Fonda) came to my house in Los Angeles and we met for a couple of hours, but the first hour or so she did everything she could to talk me out of doing the story. But I felt, as much as I have respect for her – very much respect for her – I feel the story is so important to be told to set the record straight. And so I finally convinced her.”
During her trip to Hanoi in July 1972, Fonda made 10 radio broadcasts in which she denounced American political and military leaders as “war criminals”.
Jastrow’s wife, Oscar-nominated actress Anne Archer – also a political activist – stars as Jane Fonda in the play.
“I respond to her courage, you make mistakes, she admits it, she made terrible mistakes. There’s not every part of her life I could have lived, certainly. And I’m a very different person, I’m a much more relaxed person. She’s very focused when she cares about something and she does a lot of thorough research. I’ve embraced that to play the character,” Archer said.
Also a vocal supporter of feminist causes, Fonda has been a life-long anti-war activist. She strongly opposed the war in Iraq, which she said would turn people all over the world against the United States.
‘The Trial of Jane Fonda’ is on at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh this summer.