WASHINGTON D.C. – Getting on an airplane is not one of Rosanna Arquette’s favorite things.
“I don’t like flying,” she told Spectrum News 1, as she waited at the gate at LAX. “I’m a nervous flier.”
Yet here she is, flying from LAX to D.C. You could call it a birthday present to Jane Fonda. And they will spend it locked up together.
“It’s exciting, it’s really important what she’s done,” Arquette said of Fonda. “She’s galvanized a huge movement of people.”
Fonda has racked up two Academy Awards and seven Golden Globes. But these days she is focused on another role — climate activist.
Since October, Fonda has been arrested time after time to keep global warming in the headlines -- not an easy task for someone who is turning 82.
To celebrate, she asked a bunch of her closest friends to join her Fire Drill Fridays protest, inspired by 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg.
“We’re really just inspired by all the young activists because this is going to be their world and Jane is going to spend her birthday in jail," Arquette said.
This is not Arquette's first rodeo. For her, civil disobedience is a badge of honor.
“Living in this time, It’s pretty wild," Arquette said.
As soon as she landed in D.C. on the night before the protest, Arquette headed straight to Fonda’s live webcast called a “teach-in,” an hour-long climate change discussion, hosted by Fonda and featuring a panel of experts.
Fire Drill Fridays in D.C. have lured Hollywood A-Lister’s by the dozen. Diane Lane, Sally Field, Lily Tomlin, Catherine Keener, and Ted Danson just to name a few.
Actor Matt McGorry left the L.A. set of his TV show How to Get Away With Murder to be part of what he calls a historic moment in D.C. A longtime activist, he had tips for getting arrested.
“Make sure I’m well-fed, make sure I pee and get my mind right,” McGorry said.
On Friday morning, right before the big protest, Arquette made a pit stop at a nearby coffee shop for a cup of Joe and a croissant. It will be the last thing she will consume until she is released later that night.
She is decked out in red, the same color Fonda has been wearing for her weekly arrests.
“I never wore red,” she said almost apologetically. “It organically happened. I think it’s just the collective color of women right now in power and it’s also taking back the red cap, the MAGA cap.”
Minutes before the big event, Arquette gets a last-minute briefing at a church basement near Capitol Hill: wear layers, comfortable shoes, bring a valid government I.D. and $50 in cash for the fine of civil disobedience.
"We’re going to do a civil disobedience action taking over the Hart Senate atrium,” organizer Sam Miller said. “The Senate is one of the biggest roadblocks in passing any meaningful climate legislation and so we’re going to take the message directly to them.”
At about 11 a.m., Fonda’s brigade heads to Capitol Hill. And Arquette is out in front. She is marching alongside protest royalty like activist Dolores Huerta, feminist playwright Eve Ensler, and the queen of social justice Gloria Steinem.
“I’m feeling inspired and happy to be an American today because this is what democracy looks like,” Arquette said.
After a few of hours of songs and speeches, it’s time to storm the Capitol.
At around 2 p.m., Fonda and her friends go through the Hart building’s metal detectors and take a seat in the center of the atrium. Senate staffers watch from above.
As expected, police are on the scene within minutes.
“If you do not cease and desist you will be subject to arrest. This is your first warning,” a Capitol Hill officer announced through a megaphone.
They get three of those warnings before the cuffs come out and arrests begin.
The final tally: 143 arrests, including Fonda, her fifth time in three months. Even the film crew, which has been following Fonda since Day 1, seems impressed.
“It’s incredible,” filmmaker Jack Turner told Spectrum News 1. “Seeing this grow very quickly from the very early stages has been for me has been the project that I’ve been moved by the most.”
Among the last to be arrested, Arquette is led to a waiting police bus and taken to a warehouse by the Navy Yard.
A full six hours after her arrest, Rosanna Arquette is sprung. And while her long day may be over, the climate-change mission has only just begun.