Jodie Foster’s acting career is the gold standard for every child-star transitioning into an adult actor. She started in the business at the age of three and went on to become a revered and acclaimed actress and director. She received two Academy Awards for her riveting portrayals of Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs and Sarah Tobias in The Accused.
In most conversions where Jodie Foster’s name is mentioned, words such as: iconic, talented, and intelligent are most likely thrown out. Now we can add loyal supporter and friend to that list. Foster was one of a few in Hollywood who continued to support Mel Gibson after his racist ranting (I think what Gibson did was stupid but that’s my opinion). She worked with the troubled actor in The Beaver, a movie she starred in and directed.
In a recent article Foster penned for The Daily Beast , the actress and Yale alum comes to another troubled star’s defense. In the article, Foster addresses the current media-obsess and self-promoting climate that young actors like Kristen Stewart have to navigate. Foster recalls working with a young Stewart for the movie, Panic Room where she portrayed Stewart’s mother. The two actresses bonded during the movie’s production and she remembered how talented and lovely Stewart was. Foster comes to Stewart’s defense at a time where the media is vilifying the young actress for her part in an affair with her married Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: if I were a young actor today I would quit before I started. If I had to grow up in this media culture, I don’t think I could survive it emotionally. I would only hope that someone who loved me, really loved me, would put their arm around me and lead me away to safety. Sarah Tobias would never have danced before her rapists in The Accused. Clarice would never have shared the awful screaming of the lambs to Dr. Lecter. Another actress might surely have taken my place, opened her soul to create those characters, surrendered her vulnerabilities. But would she have survived the paparazzi peering into her windows, the online harassment, the public humiliations, without overdosing in a hotel room or sticking her face with needles until she became unrecognizable even to herself?
My mother had a saying that she doled out after every small injustice, every heartbreak, every moment of abject suffering. “This too shall pass.” God, I hated that phrase. It always seemed so banal and out of touch, like she was telling me my pain was irrelevant. Now it just seems quaint, but oddly true … Eventually this all passes. The public horrors of today eventually blow away. And, yes, you are changed by the awful wake of reckoning they leave behind. You trust less. You calculate your steps. You survive. Hopefully in the process you don’t lose your ability to throw your arms in the air again and spin in wild abandon. That is the ultimate F.U. and—finally—the most beautiful survival tool of all. Don’t let them take that away from you.
Finally, an intelligent calling-out of the insanity surrounding the media’s attempt to vilify the young actress for the missteps she made in her personal life. Bottom-line is: what ever Stewart does in her personal life is her business. Whatever consequences she faces for her actions, is for her alone to bear. She doesn’t owe the public an explanation or apology for her actions. She’s just an actress. We, the public may think we know her through the false familiarity derived by seeing her in movies. We don’t own a piece of her nor do we have the right to intrude on her privacy. We have the media to do that for us.
I’m in the minority as a proponent of not wanting to know too much about an actor’s personal life. I want to maintain the suspension of disbelief and hold on to the magic that allows an actor to morph into another person. Unfortunately, in this era where every minutia of news is reported, we know inconsequential information like when a young starlet cuts her hair. Really, that’s news?
Thanks, Jodie Foster for calling out the insanity in an intelligent and reasonable manner.