Are you excited about coming to London in October?
Yes I am. It’s been a long time since I’ve been. I have no idea what I’m going to talk about.
Well, Graham is bound to ask you about Barbarella… have you fond memories of that?
I’ll probably talk about how I shot the opening space strip-tease hungover. I was so nervous — because I’m kind of modest — that I drank a lot of vodka. But there were technical problems, so I had to do it all over again the next day. So I was not only drinking vodka again but was hungover from the day before.
Was it painful doing the orgasmatron scenes? It inflicted death by orgasm, after all…
Oh that was fun! I don’t know what happened to it. I wish I still had it.
Did you keep anything from the shoot? Maybe something smaller…
No! I kick myself now. I didn’t understand the value of keeping stuff. I could have made a lot of money if I had.
You were the queen of workout videos in the 1980s — do you still exercise?
Yes… the most important thing for ageing successfully is to keep moving. I walk whenever I can.
Do you still wear your famous leg warmers?
I’m more up-to-date! More yoga pants.
Which of your movies do you wish more people had seen?
A 1984 made-for-TV movie that I won an Emmy for called The Dollmaker. It was a fantastically beautiful story.
Why have you been so public about your plastic surgery when most people deny it?
It’s not that I’m comfortable talking about it. I’m not proud of myself that I did not resist having plastic surgery… but, I don’t know… I don’t like to tell a lie, and I do look good for my age, so I want to be honest about it.
You said having surgery bought you ten years more work — shouldn’t that be discouraged?
I don’t want to encourage plastic surgery. To have it done well is expensive. And I advocate courage. But I grew up in the 1950s and I was very much judged by how I look. But no, I don’t encourage people to do that at all. I’ve stopped now.
In Netflix series Grace And Frankie you star with Lily Tomlin as rivals bonded by cheating husbands. Surely there should be more roles for actors who are over 70?
Yes, older women are the fastest growing demographic. I always hoped that I would be able, as I got older, to be a face of the older woman within culture.
What coaxed you out of retirement in 2005?
I left the business because I was unhappy and it was hard for me to feel creative. Writing my memoir and having 15 years away changed me, and I realised that I could be happy again acting. So I did Monster-In-Law and I had such a good time I wanted to do it more. I’m having more fun now. The demons that used to plague me, that made it difficult for me to enjoy acting, are gone.
What were those demons?
I’m not going to tell you…
In Grace And Frankie you’ve had storylines involving vibrators — have you seen it all now?
No, probably not, I don’t even like to think about the things I haven’t seen, because I would be shocked.
It’s not a good idea to keep lowering the bar.There’s something sexier about not seeing full nudity
Can you be prudish in Hollywood these days?
Yes! Although prudish is not the right word. It’s not a good idea to keep lowering the bar. When I started you never saw full nudity. There’s something sexier about not seeing, you know?
Are you glass half-full or glass half-empty?
I’m a glass half-empty person. I have spent my life trying to become a glass half-full. I’m about 85 per cent there.
What lessons has your career taught you?
Try to avoid taking the easier route, try to go as deep as you can, whether it’s drama or comedy. And explore all the choices and possibilities with as much courage as you can.
An Evening With Jane Fonda is on October 15 at the Savoy Theatre, London, atgtickets.com