It’s a far cry from Hanoi Jane — still fresh in the memories of those who criticized and praised her controversial public stance against the Vietnam War. (Also noteworthy: That notorious mug shot, depicting a young Fonda after her arrest on an anti-war speaking tour in 1970, is the actress's current Twitter avatar.)
Fonda’s role in the upcoming movie, which details the life of a White House butler who served eight presidents, is no more than a cameo. But, after Oprah tweeted a photo of Fonda in character as Mrs. Reagan on Tuesday, the Twitterverse was abuzz with disbelief, praise and outrage.
"Jane Fonda is going to play GOP Queen Nancy Reagan. Now having an 'I <3 Huckabees' moment because I don't know what's real," wrote Twitter user @Snockard.
"Jane God Damn Fonda as Nancy Reagan and Alan Rickman asReagan? What Ironic God allows this?" asked @kernal_t.
"And now… Hanoi Jane as Nancy Reagan…my disgust for Hollywood hits rock bottom from rock bottom," tweeted @IDG375.
The Reagans were conservative, to state the obvious—and Fonda was liberal in a big, highly publicized way. Given that background, moviegoers may wonder: How does Nancy feel about Fonda-as-Nancy?
Related: Jane Fonda to Play Nancy Reagan – Republican Nightmare!
“I know that she is pleased that I am playing her,” Fonda recently wrote in her blog, mentioning a friend of hers, writer Annette Tapert, who was recently at an event with Nancy Reagan and played messenger for Fonda. “I asked Annette to tell Ms. Reagan I was honored to be playing her. And, because I have a scene walking down a White House corridor with then Secretary of State, James Baker, I wanted to know what she used to call him (Jim) and would she have linked her arm in his (no).”
How Fonda's past may affect "The Butler" at the box office remains to be seen (though some online commentors claim no military veterans will purchase tickets). Meanwhile, Fonda remains politically outspoken.
" … [T]here is so much going on out there in the political realm that I find utterly shocking and despicable," she wrote on her blog. "I haven’t known where to start to express myself and so many others are doing a good job of saying what I would want said — about the 'legitimate rape,' the pick of Paul Ryan as VP, the war in Syria, the rise in suicides among U.S. Combat troops and vets.”