Jane Fonda on New Movie, Being a Mentor to Meryl Streep

Jane Fonda starred alongside Meryl Streep in Streep's first-ever film role

ByABC News
September 19, 2014, 7:53 AM
Jane Fonda arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "This Is Where I Leave You" on Sept. 15, 2014 in Hollywood, Calif.
Jane Fonda arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "This Is Where I Leave You" on Sept. 15, 2014 in Hollywood, Calif.
Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images

— -- At age 76, Jane Fonda is back on the big screen in a starring role that the two-time Oscar-winning actress says she can identify with.

“She was sexy and she was offbeat and she had things that I sort of identified with like over-sharing,” Fonda told ABC News’ Chris Connelly of Hillary Altman, her character in “This Is Where I Leave You.”

“If you ask my kids, they would say I have a tendency to over-share,” Fonda said.

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In the film, Fonda’s character is the mother hen and hostess of her dysfunctional offspring -- played by Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll -- who have gathered to mark the death of their father.

Though Fey is a star best known for her comedic chops, Fonda says she was surprised to find that the "30 Rock" star in addition to Bateman could make her cry.

“I didn't know Tina could make me cry, but she does,” Fonda said.

“And Jason's got the easiest eyes to look into -- you know, not every actor does,” she said. “But there are some actors that have eyes you can fall into and he has them. And he moved me a lot.”

Although Fonda plays the family matriarch on the big screen and has had a career spanning many decades, she says it is hard to see herself as a mentor for actors like Fey and Bateman.

“Enough other people tell me so, so I guess I am,” she said of being bestowed the mentor crown.

Fonda says that, like her younger self, very few actors ask her “explicit questions” about acting and surviving a Hollywood career.

The one exception is a very well-known fellow Oscar winner, Meryl Streep, with whom Fonda starred alongside in Streep's first-ever film role, the 1977 period drama, “Julia.”

“She said, ‘So explain movie acting to me,’” Fonda recalled. “Nobody else has ever asked me those questions.”

Now, Fonda says, she is trying to do for young actors what close friend Katharine Hepburn did for her as she was navigating her own way through showbiz.

“I didn't ask her questions,” she said of Hepburn. “She gave me the answers before I had a chance to ask the questions.”

"This Is Where I Leave You" opens in theaters Friday.