What the Hell Happened to Bridget Fonda?
Bridget Fonda came from Hollywood royalty. Peter Fonda is her father and Jane Fonda is her aunt. Her grandfather was the legenday Henry Fonda.
In the late 80′s, Bridget Fonda was hailed as one of America’s most promising young actresses. In the early 90′s, she seemed poised for a break-out that never happened. And then, she disappeared faster than you can say “Steve Guttenberg in the 90′s”. What the hell happened?
Okay, this one actually has a fairly simple explanation. Fonda basically walked away from her career to start a family with former Oingo Boingo frontman and current movie soundtrack composer, Danny Elfman. I figure we may as well get that out of the way up front so the answer won’t seem too anti-climactic. But What the Hell Happened articles are more about they journey than the destination. So, let’s walk through Fonda’s career so we can appreciate what she left behind for the love of Jack Skellington.
Yeah, keep on smiling, Oingo Boingo!
As a child, Fonda appeared in her father’s film, Easy Rider. But her first credited role wasn’t until 1987′s Aria.
Aria asked the question, “What can we do to sex up opera?” The answer turned out to be to “add some sex scenes”. Viewers were treated to opera, pretension and nudity. I believe I saw it twice. I was really into pretentious opera movies at the time.
Fonda’s segment centered on a young couple who consummate their relationship in Las Vegas and then try unsuccessfully to commit suicide. All set to “Liebestod” from Tristan und Isolde. Seven minutes, well spent.
I tease Aria. It was actually a very well-regarded art film. It won the Golden Palm award at the Cannes Film Festival that year. And it had Elizabeth Hurley naked. Sixteen-year-old lebeau approved of both.
In 1988, Fonda appeared in You Can’t Hurry Love. Apparently, someone thought it would be a good idea to make a romantic comedy starring David Leisure. You know, Joe Isuzu. Yeah, that guy.
Fonda’s career was not off to a great start.
Things started looking up in 1989. First, Fonda scored a juicy role in the British drama, Scandal.
Scandal starred John Hurt and Joanne Whalley (future wife and eventually ex-wife of Val Kilmer). It was based on a real-life British sex scandal which apparently they really have in England. Who knew?
Although most American audiences never heard of the film, it received very good reviews. Fonda was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.
Later that year, Fonda appeared in the 60′s road movie, Shag.
Shag got mostly positive reviews, but flopped at the box office. It has developed a cult following in the years since its release.
In 1990, Fonda appeared as Mary Shelley in Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound.
I have never seen Frankenstein Unbound, but I’m willing to bet it’s better than Kenneth Branagh’s cinematic abomination, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein from 1994. If for no other reason than it does not include Branagh wrestling a naked Robert De Niro covered in amniotic fluid.
Later that year, Fonda had a small role in The Godfather Part 3, the movie that dared to ask the question, “Will it ruin a movie if you replace Winona Ryder with your daughter?”
It turns out that was a trick question. Because while casting Sophia Coppola in a key role in the final Godfather movie certainly made the movie worse, it would likely have sucked anyway.
Fonda’s role is small. She plays a journalist that has a one-night stand with Andy Garcia’s character. But it was still a feather in her cap to be cast in one of the most beloved franchises in film history. Even if the third film did not remotely live up to the high standards of the first two.
Personally, I just pretend it doesn’t exist. So, let’s move on, shall we?
Posted on October 7, 2012, in Movies, What the Hell Happened? and tagged bridget fonda, entertainment, jackie brown, lake placid, movies, shag, single white female, the godfather. Bookmark the permalink. 143 Comments.