She stays at a distance from her host, hardly smiles, radiates a lot of grace and a little severity. On the day before the Vienna Opera Ball, Hollywood star Jane Fonda overshadowed Austrian socialite and entrepreneur Richard “Mörtel” Lugner with her presence.

She is 85 – and looks much younger. He’s 90 and seems energetic too. But age and the successful fight against it seem to be the only thing that unites both. At a press conference, the reporters want to know whether they will waltz together at the ball. A clear no: “I have an artificial shoulder, two artificial hips, two artificial knees. I’m old and I could fall apart,” replies the American, once celebrated as a fitness queen.

Jane Fonda needs money for her projects

Lugner has been inviting guests to his box at the Opera Ball, Austria’s high society event of the year, for money since 1992. A little shine for him – and advertising for his shopping center in Vienna. Because the two-time Oscar winner also had to do an autograph session in his “Lugner City” on Wednesday. She did it with great professionalism. Your motive for the long-distance trip? Money! Although she has only made several successful films and series (“Grace and Frankie”, “80 for Brady”), she openly admits: “I support so many people, I need the money.” Especially since this year she wants to devote herself entirely to a matter close to her heart, climate protection, and to forego lucrative film projects.

She emphatically breaks a lance for the now no longer uncontroversial climate protests of the “Last Generation”. Their adhesive actions are completely fine, she thinks. “What they call out to us is: Help us, you old people. Help us so that we have a future!” Fonda said. She finds the activities of companies that earn their money with fossil fuels “criminal”. She wanted to make at least a symbolic exclamation mark by not using the stretch limousine provided by Lugner for her stay.

The two will no longer be a dream couple

She has been in the Austrian capital since Monday – and on a cultural tour. She was personally guided through the various museums by the museum directors. In the Albertina she was allowed to take a close look at Dürer’s epochal watercolor “Feldhase” (1502) with a magnifying glass. Lugner’s hope for early photos together burst. “She’s just an eternal rebel,” said the 90-year-old, a little frustrated.

In any case, the communication between the two does not seem to go smoothly. In any case, Fonda had not expected to attend a ball when she landed in Vienna. “I thought I was going to an opera,” said the 85-year-old on Wednesday at their first joint appearance. But she’s used to the idea now. “Lots of photos will be taken and I will probably meet the President.”

Around 5,000 guests will celebrate at the Opera Ball. After a two-year Corona break, the society meeting is also dedicated to charity – part of the income is donated to social causes. The German Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) is also expected to attend the event with its strict dress code – long evening dresses for women, tails for men – as a guest of his Austrian counterpart Magnus Brunner.

In his own words, Lugner refreshed himself for Thursday evening with a visit to a cold chamber – two minutes and ten seconds at minus 112 degrees. Fonda, on the other hand, trusts her daily workout, among other things. Basically everything as before, only slower and with less weight, she revealed on Wednesday. She also adores sleeping late. And in this case she trusts the arts of a make-up artist. “It’s all fake” (“Everything just made”), she said when asked about her beauty secrets.