Fox 411: Jane Fonda Writing Secret Autobiography

Jane Fonda's Secret Autobiography | Beatles: What's Old Is New Again | Pakula Award to Contender

Jane Fonda Writing Secret Autobiography 

Well, the word is out: Jane Fonda is busy writing her autobiography. She's kept it a secret for quite a while, but during our interview for Talk magazine's upcoming special Oscar issue, Jane spilled some of the beans.

"There are six books out there already," she said. "So I figured it was time to do one of my own." She's sold the book to a major publisher and gotten big bucks, but she'd prefer to keep all that information secret for now. One thing is certain: Fonda is writing the book herself without a ghost or an assistant. "And I'm a pretty good writer, it turns out," she said. Why not? She has an Ivy League education.

In the book, Jane will address the kinds of issues that have made her a controversial actress and political activist for the last 40 years. Expect to see a discussion of her Vietnam experience, her interest in physiology, and maybe even the exploration of her renewed faith as a Christian.

Jane's book follows her brother Peter's excellent autobiography, Don't Tell Dad, which was published a couple of years ago. The Fonda kids never had it easy: their mother Frances Seymour committed suicide. Their father, Henry, had four more wives. He was remote and uncommunicative, the opposite of the warm screen persona he created.

This book, which should appear in 2002, will have some competition. Patricia Bosworth, the esteemed biographer of photographer Diane Arbus and actor Montgomery Clift, is also writing an unauthorized biography of Fonda due next year from Hyperion.

This reporter knows that every time Fonda's name has appeared here, we have been inundated with "Hanoi Jane" e-mails. Instead of pushing that button at the bottom of this page, think for a minute about the incredible body of work Fonda created as an actress (seven Oscar nominations, 2 wins), the good she's done to help people around the world, and whether you ever said or did anything in your youth which you regret now.

Beatles: What's Old Is New Again 

The Beatles1 album, 27 greatest hits, is indeed 1 again next week on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart. It's the fifth week in a row.

Mining the Beatles for more merchandise takes some thinking since The Beatles Anthology book has already been a bestseller these past few months. There are no new Beatles records to be suddenly discovered, and no more repackagings — with the exception of a Hey Jude/Beatles Again CD to match the original, now deleted, American release or a CD of Rarities, also an American album that's gone out of print.

The 1 album has pulled the Beatles double CD White Album onto the Billboard Pop Catalog chart at number 16, by the way. I would guess Sgt. Pepper would be next since no track from either of these albums is on 1.

But hey — that won't stop Paul McCartney. According to British publisher Faber & Faber, McCartney will be bringing out a book of his poems, verse and lyrics this March. Blackbird Singing is described thusly in the Faber & Faber catalogue: A highly personal collection from one of the major cultural figures of the last 50 years, containing the lyrics to many of the best-loved Paul McCartney songs, and also poems that have never before been seen, including moving elegies to his wife Linda."

(I rather doubt, years from now, that we'll be seeing anything similar from members of the boy bands, but anything's possible I suppose. Maybe Kevin Richardson's diaries, called I Wanted It That Way. Or Justin Timberlake's Out of Sync. Can't hardly wait!)

Meanwhile, all things Beatle continue to sell well. The Miramax rerelease of A Hard Day's Night is a sell-out in its limited run. Last weekend it had a per-screen average of $2,241, making it one of the most successful releases of the season. With Yellow Submarine and Help! already available, that leaves just Let It Be yet to be rereleased on film or DVD. Of course, George Harrison is about to rerelease all his albums on remastered CDs. And he's got a book, I Me Mine, that he could always update with a chapter on his frightening home-stabbing incident from last year.

Pakula Award to Contender 

The Broadcast Film Critics — another critics group giving an award, it's dizzying — bestow something called the Pakula Award, named for one of the greatest directors, the late Alan Pakula, who died in a car accident in 1998. He is much missed.

So this year's Pakula will go to Rod Lurie's movie The Contender, which is a film as Pakula-like as it could be, on January 22. That's right after the Golden Globes, so they should get some attention.

The Contender was a flawed film with two excellent performances — Joan Allen and Jeff Bridges. There's also Gary Oldman's daring take on a right wing congressman. I predict The Contender will be a big hit on video and a lot of people who rent it will say, "How come this wasn't a bigger hit?"

Alan Pakula made some great films. Among them: All the President's MenKlutePresumed Innocent and The Parallax View. Lurie's movies so far — Contender and Deterrence — follow a pattern of paranoia and distrust among government officials. So the prize seems fitting.