The ’60s were a revolutionary era, as Hollywood – and by extension, its global fanbase – reinvented and redefined ideas of sexuality and empowerment in never-before-attempted projects that only grew bolder and fiercer with time. The saga that began with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Fonda was one that was a rebellion in itself, having been un-preceded by anything similar and being utterly unparalleled in its magnitude. And one of the most iconic performances of the time came from the latter with the sci-fi flick, Barbarella.
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Jane Fonda Expresses Anxiety Over Barbarella Remake
In October 2022, Entertainment Weekly informed the public of a new Barbarella remake that was being developed by Sony starring Euphoria‘s Sydney Sweeney in the lead. The 1968 film, which featured Jane Fonda as the original icon, revisited the idea of a modern adaptation over the years since its release but all attempts eventually failed to take off. This time, however, it seems as though only is intent on the project coming to fruition but for Fonda, it might not necessarily be a good idea.
“I try not to [think about it]… Because I worry about what it’s going to be. I had an idea of how to do it that [original producer] Dino De Laurentiis, when he was still alive, wouldn’t listen to… But it could have been a truly feminist movie.”
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Coupled with the fact that Sweeney has already been exposed to the highly exposed culture of HBO’s Euphoria and the sexualization that came with it, Barbarella is claimed as a push further toward exposing the young and formative actress into the limelight of haunting toxicity in the years to come – a cause that Jane Fonda has specifically fought against since her early years in Hollywood.
The Cultural Impact of Jane Fonda’s Barbarella (1968)
A film that was ahead of its time is not unheard of, but one that was as controversial and scandalous as Barbarella rarely ever reforms itself in the collective consciousness. The cinematic adaptation, borrowed from the French graphic novels by Jean-Claude Forest, was released in 1968 to a demography that was already besotted with the star of the film, Jane Fonda. Her iconic presence in Hollywood is marked by feminism, activism, and strong advocacy for fitness.
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And as such, to witness a star coming into the making, already showing emerging signs of impending greatness in and outside the gilded industry, taking on the role of a space-faring sexually imposing protagonist singlehandedly foiling the villainous Durand Durand’s plans of mass destruction was a tale that was gripping at the offset. And yet, a few aspects of the film’s plot overshadowed the narrative’s core basis – which spoke of female sexual liberation and breaking out of the assigned boxes that limited women only as oversexualized arm candy in an industry dominated on-screen and off by men.
Jane Fonda’s Barbarella may have been put down upon release but it grew in underground popularity, becoming a cult classic over the years, and a case study of the early waves of feminism via the entertainment industry. Two decades later, Tom Cruise and the infamous Top Gun beach volleyball scene would go on to do the same for the formative scene in gay liberation movements during Reagan’s America.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter