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The 80-year-old actress — who plays retired cosmetics mogul Grace Henson on the Netflix series alongside Lily Tomlin — once refused to say, “Jesus Christ,” as previously written for her character. After receiving pushback from Fonda, the show’s writers quickly reworked her dialogue.
Kauffman opened up about the request from Fonda, who is a devout Christian, when asked about the actresses’ input on show dialogue during a panel Tuesday at the Paley Center for Media’s “Going Beyond the Number” event in New York. The discussion focused on age in a new era of diversity.
“We’ve had little things, like Jane didn’t feel comfortable saying — honestly, it was ‘Jesus Christ,'” Kauffman admitted to moderator Janice Min, NBCU Cable Entertainment consultant and former co-president of The Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Group. “Jane didn’t feel comfortable saying, ‘Jesus Christ.'”
Kauffman went on to say that she is happy to amend the script whenever her main foursome — Fonda, Tomlin, Martin Sheen or Sam Waterston — feels uncomfortable.
“These four actors are the most professional, glorious people I’ve ever worked with. I love them. So when they have an issue, it’s not that they’re being divas,” Kauffman explained to Min of her cast. “It’s not that they’re being self-important. They have a real issue.”
Back in 2009, Fonda — who embraced Christianity after her marriage to media mogul Ted Turner ended in 2001 — took to her personal blog to address her faith.
“My faith is a work in progress (as am I) but I will plant my flag on the belief that God lives within each of us as Spirit (or soul). I like what Reverend Forrest Church says: ‘God is not God’s name. God is our name for that which is greater than all and yet present in all,'” she wrote at the time. “I believe that Christ was the personal incarnation of the divine wisdom in everything, including every form of spiritual expression.”
The feminist icon also responded to criticism over her decision not to follow “established religion” and her former assertion that “God is beyond gender.”
“Some will say that because of all this I am not a true Christian. So be it,” added Fonda. “I feel like a Christian, I believe in the teachings of Jesus and try to practice them in my life. I have found Christians all over this country who feel as I do. They may not have been ‘saved’ yet they hum with divine spirit.”
Netflix’s Grace and Frankie, which just picked up three Emmy nominations, is set to return with its fifth season in 2019.
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