Jane Fonda has two Oscars. She’s played a hooker, a newswoman, a stuffy society lady, the wife of a Vietnam vet, a single mom in an office, and dozens of other unusual characters. But now she’s going to play a Jewish mother. Fonda is joining the cast of Shawn Levy’s “This Is Where I Leave You” based on the novel by Jonathan Tropper. Jason Bateman plays her son who returns home for his father’s funeral and shiva, looking for his ex wife, and dealing with his siblings.
The book is funny and lovely, and the movie — if handled right– could be great for everyone. Among the other cast members is Corey Stoll, who played Hemingway in “Midnight in Paris.” “This Is Where I Leave You” was set up originally with director Adam Shankman, and Zac Efron was supposed to play one of Bateman’s siblings. But the whole thing fell apart when Shankman’s “Rock of Ages” tanked at the box office. Sources say the studio lost confidence in him directing a non musical. And, they say, there was an issue with Efron commanding a larger salary than Bateman.
So now, everything is realigned, the movie has a happy new life, and Jane Fonda is brushing up on her Jewish customs and Yiddishisms. I’m told the script is very funny, and has a lot of inside references to the way people come and go during the Jewish six days of mourning. There will be a lot of food.