Jodie Foster is one of Hollywood’s most sought out actresses of all time. There isn’t an upcoming actor alive who doesn’t dream of working with her. The only wish is that she would simply work more, but she’s been doing this for most of her life so you can’t blame her for not wanting all that much to do with it.
She worked right during the most exciting time in American Cinema. She started out as child actor working in commercials, then did some Disney, then moved onto some dangerous territory that got her recognized and treated more seriously. She had already made 50 films and television shows before she went to college in the 80’s.
Jodie’s career began gaining serious notoriety at the ripe age of 12 when she played a preteen prostitute in the radical Martin Scorsese flick, “Taxi Driver” which she received her first Academy Award Nomination. That same year she also starred in the popular Disney film, “Freaky Friday”. This only showed her wide range in varied material.
It’s rare for a child actor to transition successfully to an adult career, but Jodie Foster is one of the few that has shown it can be done if you stay on the right path. You never heard of any partying, drugs or alcohol. You only heard of a straight-A student who kept her nose in the books and her eyes to the stars. She studied at a French school and speaks French fluently. In fact, she’s made a film in French as well dubs most of her own movies in French.
Although it was not without initial difficulty, as several of the films in her early adult career were financially unsuccessful, but still well known. These included The Hotel New Hampshire, Five Corners, and Stealing Home. That would all change when she auditioned for “The Accused” and got the part. She won the Academy Award and the Golden Globe for her role in that film where she played a rape survivor.
Her career from this point on would be consistently successful and marking her as Hollywood’s most bankable actresses who can open a film. This started with her first blockbuster, a role turned down by Michelle Pfeiffer and Meg Ryan. The role that would garner her a second Academy Award and Golden Globe. The role of Clarice Starling in “The Silence of the Lambs”. A sleeper hit that grew to gross nearly $300 million. Every film she chose to make after that and to date has been incredibly enjoyed.
Foster said that she did not have the ambition to produce “big mainstream popcorn” movies, and as a child, independent films made her more interested in the movie business than mainstream ones. With that said, she created her own little production company, Egg Pictures. She directed her first feature, “Little Man Tate” about a child prodigy. This was followed by even more successful films. “Sommersby” with Richard Gere. It was about a woman whose husband comes back from war and she discovers he’s not who he seems and may not really be her husband. This was followed by the Richard Donner flick, “Maverick” a successful western spoof which also starred Mel Gibson and James Garner.
Immediately her Egg Pictures produced Nell, in which she starred as an isolated woman who speaks an invented language and must return to civilization. Her performance earned her nominations for her fourth Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and an MTV Movie Award, and won her a Screen Actors Guild Award and a People’s Choice Award.
She chose to direct her next film, a movie that should’ve been nominated for Best Picture, “Home For the Holidays”. It was a black comedy that starred Holly Hunter and Robert Downey Jr. In this one Jodie stayed strictly behind the camera accurately portraying the modern American family. In his three and half star review, Roger Ebert praised Foster’s ability to direct “the film with a sure eye for the revealing little natural moment,” and Downey’s performance that “brings out all the complexities of a character who has used a quick wit to keep the world’s hurts at arm’s length.”
We hadn’t seen Jodie on the screen for a number of years since Nell, but in 1997, she starred alongside Matthew McConaughey in the science-fiction movie Contact, based on the novel by scientist Carl Sagan and directed by Robert Zemeckis. She portrayed a scientist searching for extraterrestrial life in the SETI project. In regards to the script, she said that “I have to have some acute personal connection with the material. And that’s pretty hard for me to find.”Contact was her first sci-fi film, and her first experience with a bluescreen. She commented, “Blue walls, blue roof. It was just blue, blue, blue. And I was rotated on a lazy Susan with the camera moving on a computerized arm. It was really tough.” The film was another huge commercial successand earned Foster nominations for numerous awards, including a Golden Globe. In 1998, an asteroid, 17744 Jodiefoster, was named in her honor.
Although Foster was working less and less, the movies she was churning out were now becoming her biggest box office successes in her entire career. This started in 2002, when she took over the lead role in the thriller Panic Room after Nicole Kidman dropped out due to a previous injury. The film costarred Dwight Yoakam, Forest Whitaker, Kristen Stewart and Jared Leto and was directed by David Fincher.
She then performed in the French-language film Un long dimanche de fiançailles (A Very Long Engagement) (2004), speaking French fluently throughout.
She returned to English-language films with the 2005 thriller Flightplan, which opened once again in the top position at the U.S. box office and was a worldwide hit shattering all of her previous records. She portrayed a woman whose daughter disappears on an airplane that her character, an engineer, helped to design. The studio commented that Jodie Foster could be away for years and then come back and still open a film bigger than no other. Thus only proving her star power. The public knows if Jodie is in the film, that no matter what its about, it will be an entertaining one.
In 2006, Foster starred in Inside Man, a thriller directed by Spike Lee and co-starring Denzel Washington and Clive Owen, which again opened at the top of the U.S. box office and became another international hit. Jodie asked Spike Lee to make her look good in this picture since she had to play grungy mommy in her last two action flicks.
In 2007, she starred in The Brave One directed by Neil Jordan and co-starring Terrence Howard, another urban thriller that opened at #1 at the U.S. box office.Her performance in the film earned her a sixth Golden Globe for Best Actress nomination and another People’s Choice nomination, for Favorite Female Action Star. Commenting on her latest roles, she has said she enjoys appearing in mainstream genre films that have a “real heart to them”. This picture only proved what an intense and incredible female action heroine she is.
In 2008, Foster starred in Nim’s Island alongside Gerard Butler and Abigail Breslin, portraying a reclusive writer who is contacted by a young girl after her father goes missing at sea. The film was the first comedy that Foster had starred in since Maverick in 1994, and was also a commercial success. Not to mention was probably her first family friendly film in decades.
“The Beaver” became Foster’s third film to act as director which she stars in with Mel Gibson, her previous co-star from Maverick. After the onslaught of bad press with Gibson the studio was having a hard time signing off on allowing him to be cast in the film. Jodie decided to star in it as well as collateral and the studio then gave her the green light. This is said to be one of Mel Gibson’s best acting work to date.
Foster’s films have spanned a wide variety of genres, from family films to horror. In addition to her two Academy Awards she has won three Bafta Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a People’s Choice Award, and has received two Emmy nominations.