Jane Fonda on joining the climate fight: ‘It’s back to the barricades’

Jane Fonda has unusual plans for her 82nd birthday: she wants to spend the night in jail.

The American actor and political activist – who has been protesting about inaction over the climate crisis at the US Capitol every Friday – has been arrested four times and kept overnight once. Her lawyers have helped her avoid serious charges. But she says the acts of civil disobedience have pulled her out of a depression she sunk into after Donald Trump took office.

“With his election came a need to deeply study things that I didn’t understand enough, including why did he get elected,” Fonda said. “The answers to why he got elected began way, much earlier. And so that realisation has helped guide where I put my focus as an activist,” Fonda said in an interview with the Guardian.

Fonda – a huge star in the 1960s, 70s and 80s who has recently seen TV success in the hit Netflix show Grace and Frankie – knew Trump socially before he entered politics.

When he won the Republican nomination, she said she was relieved because she thought he would never win. And even if he did, she didn’t expect him to be ideological.

“I didn’t realise that he was a crook,” she said. “I did not realise the depth of corruption that exists in our government, and that kind of shocks me. I don’t like to think that this country is like, you know, the Latin American dictatorships, you know, Eastern European dictatorships, Russian dictatorships.”