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This story first appeared in the Jan. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Jodie Foster has garnered so much acclaim at the Golden Globes during her 43-year career, even she was surprised to learn of her tally (“I forgot about being nominated for that!” she laughs about one film). Foster, 50, offers similar candor when sharing the backstories behind some of her most iconic — and controversial — movies, both as an actor and a director.
Freaky Friday, 1977 GLOBE NOM
They nominated me for this because they felt bad for not nominating me for Taxi Driver! [Laughs.] “Now we have to nominate her for something else.” I remember having a lot of pimples when I made that movie, which was upsetting. It’s the one movie I’ve made I actually can’t watch. Those awkward teenage years: Your nose is big, and you’ve got pimples. The funny thing about it is, every kid I meet, when I say I was in Freaky Friday, they’re like, “Oh, the Lindsay Lohan movie?!” I’m like, “Nooo!”
The Accused, 1989 GLOBE WIN
It was a role everybody was trying to get. They didn’t want me because I’d spent five years in college, and the last time people saw me in a film, I was a chubby teenager. I lobbied and read for it. I was 25 or 26 and didn’t even read the script more than once or twice before I went in. I knew the director [Jonathan Kaplan] wanted me, but the producers saw my screen test, and they said: “No. But if you change this and this …” and I said, “If you cast me, I can show you that I can do that,” which is what happened.
Little Man Tate, 1991 DIRECTOR/STAR
I wasn’t scared at all to get behind the camera for the first time. I was only 27 — I was so stupid! I should’ve been a lot more scared. The truth was, I’d been making movies for so long, in front of the camera, it was the best way to really learn how film is made. Also, I liked working with the young actors. With kids, it’s just about results. They didn’t go to Juilliard; they just want to feel like they’re cared for. I think I remembered a bit of the trauma of being a child actor, so I tried to avoid that.
The Silence of the Lambs, 1992 GLOBE WIN
I think all of us — director Jonathan Demme, DP Tak Fujimoto, composer Howard Shore, Anthony Hopkins and I — still feel like it’s the best work we’ve ever done. We were scared that we’ll never do anything that good again! The book from Thomas Harris was so amazing that the first script that came out of Ted Tally‘s typewriter was the one that was greenlit.
Home for the Holidays, 1995 DIRECTOR
I felt like getting on bended knee. “Thank you for saying yes!” to Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft and Charles Durning for what they brought. It was a difficult time for Robert, but he came through like gangbusters. I always remind him of that. I was never disappointed any day I went to set; he was totally there, and I’m grateful.
Nell, 1995 GLOBE NOM
Stupidly, I wasn’t hesitant at all to take on this role, either. I developed it with the producer — we bought the rights to the play and adapted it — and then we came up with Nell’s language alongside the writer because the play didn’t really have that element. It was a life-changing movie for me. Sometimes when I say that it’s some of the best work I’ve ever done, people wince: “Really?” I’m very alone in the film, and that’s a theme in my movies.
Contact, 1998 GLOBE NOM
I was nominated for this? I didn’t think I was! I love this movie. There are some wonderful ideas here that come right from [author] Carl Sagan. Also, Ellie Arroway is most like me of any person I’ve ever played — another solitary person navigating her mind and heart.
The Brave One, 2008 GLOBE NOM
This one shook me up. One thing that made people uncomfortable with it was, it had a strong intellectual side and yet also has a pit-of- your-stomach revenge story. There are those same parts of me: One is very intellectual, and another is completely gut.
The Beaver, 2011 DIRECTOR/STAR
I’d worked with Mel Gibson, so I knew he’s a one- or two-take guy. My biggest fear was everybody else’s opinions about him. I knew the movie wouldn’t be for everybody — all headlines aside! But I’m really proud of it. Twenty years from now, I hope somebody will pop it into their DVD player and be like, “Wow, why didn’t I pay attention to this?”
Carnage, 2012 GLOBE NOM
I loved acting with Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz. The movie wasn’t about costumes or CGI. All we had was each other. I’ve never been this close with actors before. We were always struggling with dialogue because Roman Polanski insisted on doing the movie from beginning to end over and over and over again. On breaks, we hung out in this bedroom and talked about sex and movies that we love. Inevitably, one of us would be falling asleep. It was really great.
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