March 31, 2006

The price of prestige

Jodie Foster is a class act inside out

By Jose Daniel Bort
Latino Press Services

Very few people have her clout. Even though she’s petite, extremely well educated and practically absent from the media, she seems to rule among the actresses of her generation, and probably actresses overall. It’s the ultra private Miss Jodie Foster.

“I said it many times before and I can say it again: I don’t see anything good about fame. Nothing. I’ve been in the spotlight since I can remember but I don’t get the kind of attention you see other young actresses now because it was different when I grew up. I was considered an actress, not a celebrity that needs her clothes to be repped,” explained Jodie.

It has paid off. Last year was a pitiful one for leading actresses with one exception: Flightplan. This was the only blockbuster in sight mainly because of the presence of Foster. “Contrary to what many people may think, I am extremely proud of that movie. It was a genre movie, not a quirky little piece destined to win awards. But you cared about that character’s trip. Losing your child and having no one to believe you is something people can easily relate to, and I think people want to see me in those kind of strong roles,” said Foster.

Her kind

Miss Foster is such an intelligent and seasoned performer, it’s really difficult to interview her. Not because she’s not cooperative, but because she knows exactly where to draw the line about the details of her private life, and she keeps her truly at bay. “I got a pretty good sense of what the difference between my private life and my public by the time, I think, I was five years old. I remember wanting to go to Disneyland, and not wanting cameras to follow me, I wanted that experience for myself. I have learned through the years this hard lesson and that’s how I have kept it, always. But I have been in the business since I was three. Young actors nowadays start at 22 and they maybe learn that lesson at 30, when their careers are in a downward spiral,” said Foster.

This is exactly why she chooses her projects, extremely carefully. “This is why I have chosen to do only one movie in three years, for example. Now that my little one is four and a half, you find me busier with work, as I am right now. I am extremely motivated with what I am doing, both acting and directing.

Jodie created minimum controversy when she got pregnant by artificial insemination twice during the late 90’s and early 2000’s. There’s no pictures of her sons on the media and she keeps them at bay in Beverly Hills where she lives. “It comes with the business of being an actor. You have to become a person of substance in order to deliver a strong performer. Parties, premieres, all that stuff have always felt like work to me, and if I am doing promotion for a film I’d do them, but not when I need to be there for my family,” said Foster.

The time for work is now. Foster opens “inside man” this month, where she plays an ice princess power broker like only she could. “It made perfect sense to me to get involved in a project like this. I don’t have to be the leading actor all the time, it’s good to lay back, do what you have to do and observe what your partners do. I always wanted to work with Denzel (Washington) but we never found the right project. Usually there’s only one leading actor per movie, unless it’s a blockbuster, since it becomes expensive. I can tell you without hesitation that Denzel is the most resourceful actor I’ve ever worked with, no doubt”, said Foster.

The inside man is a genre bank heist movie, but with very corky elements around. One of them is Jodie’s job. “She’s a fixer. They call her in very strenuous situations, like when a mayor gets two hookers dead in a hotel room and she needs to clean the mess up. And she does it with the perfect smile, never raising her voice, saying please and thank you, but you know she’s in a position of power because she’s not involved in the mess, and I think she really likes to be there. It’s a huge power trip,” said Foster.

She’s no strange to powerful positions. She has two movies under her belt as a director, and with her two won Oscar as an actress she is simply one of the most powerful women in the business, easily compared to some of the women studio heads that came around at the same time as her.

“I will act and direct this year too. You’ll be amazed, the projects that I usually choose for directing have nothing to do with my acting choices and vice versa, but this one is another exception (She already took both hats in Little man tate). The movie is called Sugarland and it’s about the relationship between Jamaican cane workers and a Cuban landowner in Florida. Robert de Niro is acting with me again, he’s doing the Cuban landlord. I am taking a supporting role, but the material is so good I am going to be really happy doing this,” said Foster.

Another Oscar in sight? Nothing is impossible for the strongest actress in Hollywood.

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