She has been a part of showbiz since the age of six, and Jodie Foster has witnessed Hollywood and the process of filmmaking evolve. From having no female around on a film set other than herself, to now becoming a director herself, it has been quite a journey for her.
“From when I was growing up in the late ‘60s to now, obviously things have changed. The biggest thing that has changed is there were never any other woman; it was just me and a bunch of guys. Every producer, director, technician was a man. I never saw any other woman, until sometimes in the ‘80s when things started changing. Filmmaking became a lot more diverse,” shares Foster, who started her career as a child artiste in 1968 with television sitcom Mayberry R.F.D.
The actor-director, who has helmed films such as Little Man Tate (1991), Money Monster (2016) and episodes of shows like House of Cards, Black Mirror Orange Is the New Black, is happy to see the change.
“There are a lot more female directors now, that’s the most dramatic change that has happened,” she adds.
As an actor, Foster has always been known to play strong characters and her rich filmography is a proof. The 58-year-old says she’s attracted towards playing a stronger woman, something that she has done in her new film, The Mauritanian. She plays the role of a defence attorney, who uncovers a far-reaching conspiracy while investigating the case of a suspected 9/11 terrorist imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for six years.
“Even in the roles where the women weren’t that strong, I made them stronger. I don’t think watching a film about somebody who doesn’t have an opinion and blends into the word work, are that interesting. So, I guess I avoided it,” she admits.
Foster, who has starred in acclaimed films such as The Accused (1988), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Panic Room (2002), Flightplan (2005), Inside Man (2006), and The Brave One (2007), however, over the years has cut back on acting work and says there are quite a few reasons why she’s not seen on the screen often.
“Naturally things slow down when you get older. Also, after 55 years or I don’t know how many years of doing the exact same job, I’ve become a little pickier about what I do on screen. I do a lot of directing, so I’ve been prioritising that,” she explains, recalling a realisation she had 10 years ago.
“I realised that there are other ways of having meaningful work in life. I never knew that there were other ways of than making films, somehow I just thought that was it. So now if I’m going to take the time out, then I’ve to do something that moves me and I’ve to feel somehow I’m contributing in making the role better and not worse,” she concludes.