There are different ways of being a woman’: Jodie Foster on beauty, bravery, and raising feminist sons
The Guardian: It is roughly 58 years since Jodie Foster’s first acting role and there are things she won’t put up with on set. She won’t be told how to get into character. She won’t tolerate what she calls “voodoo” directing, that is am-dram, shake-your-body-out nonsense. She won’t respond to certain types of “alpha” interference from people up the industry chain. (The only time Foster submits to bossy producers, she says, is when they are “super passive-aggressive British people” – a type she just can’t resist.) In work mode, and outside interactions with the press, she is conscientious, matter-of-fact, with almost no performance anxiety or self-consciousness. “I approach a story or character in the same way I do a book report,” she says. “I like to make it pragmatic.” We are in a hotel suite in West Hollywood where the 61-year-old is charming and pleasant, with gel-spiked hair, tiny-waisted black trousers and a crisp white shirt popped at the collar. She could be a matador, or someone in high-end catering, and the sheer familiarity of her face and manner is startling. The voice and smile, the teasing laugh and intensity, evoke decades of iconic roles, from Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs and Sarah Tobias in The Accused, back to her childhood roles in Taxi Driver and Bugsy Malone. Foster kicks off her mules to reveal red painted toenails, and tucks her legs up under her, an unstudied gesture – or a knowing one. After five decades of fame, I imagine she understands as well as I do that, “she tucks her legs up under her” is the type of dumb line profile writers like to use to summon fake intimacy. There is another side to Foster; one that is markedly less straightforward and, over the years, has made much of the coverage of her painful to read.