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?
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!
At the age of four, Fonda appeared in her father’s 1969 cult classic, Easy Rider.
Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper played hippies who ride motorcycles across the American Southwest. Along the way, the two come across a commune where they stay for the day. Four-year-old Bridget played one of the kids in the commune.
James Cameron originally wrote The Terminator with Bridget Fonda in mind to play Sarah Connor. In the original script, the character was much younger. Had Fonda agreed, The Terminator would have been her movie debut. When she passed, several actresses were considered. Debra Winger was cast but changed her mind before filming started. Eventually Linda Hamilton landed the role.
Fonda’s 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 the romantic comedy, You Can’t Hurry Love.
David Packer played a guy from Ohio who moves out to LA when his cousin promises him a hot job in advertising. When he gets there, he finds himself handing out flyers on the beach. As a frustrated single, he joins a video dating service where Fonda works.
David Leisure, who was appearing in popular commercials at the time as the character, Joe Isuzu, had a supporting role and was featured heavily in the movie’s marketing materials. Sally Kellerman, Charles Grodin and Kristy McNichol all had cameo roles.
Fonda also did voice work in the English dub of the French animated science fiction movie, Gandahar or Light Years as it was called in the US. Fonda voiced the Head/Historian.
I remember seeing this weird little cartoon in the very same art house where I watched Aria in 1987. Glenn Close, Jennifer Grey and Christopher Plummer were also featured on the English language version.
Next: Scandal and Shag
Posted on October 7, 2012, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged bridget fonda, jackie brown, lake placid, shag, single white female, the godfather. Bookmark the permalink. 236 Comments.