Alicia Christian Foster, alias Jodie Foster, was born on November 19 1962 in Los Angeles, California. She is an American actress, producer and director. She started her career at 3, but it is only in 1976 that she realises that acting is not as stupid as she thought. She won her first nomination to the Oscar of the best supporting actress for Taxi Driver, by Martin Scorsese.
Brilliant student, she graduated from a French-speaking school as a valedictorian at the Lycée Francais of Los Angeles. She then earned a literature diploma from Yale University. In 1988, after many films, she won an Oscar of the best actress for The Accused. Three years later, she wins another award for Silence of the Lamb, where she co-stars with Anthony Hopkins. After that amazing thriller, her career takes off. She plays one of her most touching characters in Nell, in 1994. |
Jodie is the daughter of Evelyn Brandy Ella and Lucius Fisher Foster III. Her father, an Air Force Lieutenant- Colonel and decorated soldier, left her mother before Jodie was born. Jodie’s mother supported them by working as a film producer. That is how Jodie started her career in commercials when she was three years old. She started playing in the series Mayberry R.F.D in 1968. After some commercials she appeared in her first big screen movie, Napoleon and Samantha, 1972, in which she plays alongside Michael Douglas. Very brilliant and promising, she appears, as a teenager, in many Hollywood productions as Tom Sawyer , One Little Indian and Alice doesn’t live here anymore. Martin Scorsese, who directed Alice doesn’t live here anymore, offered her a role as a prostitute in Taxi Driver, where she plays with Robert de Niro in 1975. It is in this movie and thanks to de Niro, that Jodie really feels she’s an actress. De Niro took her in charge and taught her how to build a character, which is, as she says, the most important thing in her job. She was only 12.
At 13, she plays in a musical, a parody of the mafia. The film, Bugsy Malone, by Alan Parker, was played only by children and is until today considered as a classic and one of the greatest musicals.
In 1980, she obtains her diploma from the French school and the studies at the Yale University where she graduates with a Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude in 1985, which means she graduated with an academic distinction, “with great honour”. Speaking an excellent French with no accent she insists on dubbing her own characters for French language versions of her movies.
John Warnock Hinckley Junior disturbed Jodie over many years. He developed an obsession for her after watching Taxi Driver over and over. When she went to Yale, he followed her, and started leaving her messages under her door and calling her. Not being able to have any direct contact with her, he starts thinking of committing suicide in front of her to get her attention. Then, he thought assassinating a President would be a good idea, as a President being a public figure would be as important as Jodie. He followed Jimmy Carter from state to state, but was arrested in Nashville, Tennessee for possessing a fire arm. Broke, her went back to his parents. Despite treatment for his depression and mental illness, his condition didn’t get better. In 1981, he decides to kill Ronald Reagan. Before trying to kill him; he wrote a letter to Jodie. “the reason why I will do this is because I cannot wait one more second to impress you””, he said.
On march 30 1981, he shot 6 times on the President coming out of the Hilton Hotel in Washington. Only one bullet hit the president who survived. Hinckley didn’t try to escape and was arrested on the crime scene. He was considered non guilty and integrated the Sainte Elizabeth hospital in Washington for mental disorder and psychiatric reasons. He had the chance to go out on visits, controlled or not. But he was banned from doing so after objects related to Jodie Foster were found in his hospital room.
Pursuing her career, she is revealed in The Accused in 1988, by Jonathan Kaplan. She plays the role of Sarah, a young girl who was raped and tries to defend her case. Kaplan wanted to shoot the scene right at the beginning of the shooting so that Foster would really understand the pain of her character. When Panic Room was released, Jodie talked about her role, the most difficult she ever had to play.
She admitted the subject of the movie was very hard. On one hand because it deals with rape, which is one of the biggest fears of a young woman, on the other hand, because you can’t really get ready for a role like that. She even said she thought of taking a break from her actress career after the movie was done.
She won the Golden Globe of Best Actress in a drama movie, for which Sigourney Weaver and Shirley MacLaine were also nominated.
She also won the Oscar for Best Actress, 13 years after being nominated for Taxi Driver for Best Actress in a supporting role, she once again evicted Sigourney Weaver as well as Glenn Close and Meryl Streep.
In 1991, she plays an FBI Agent, Clarice Starling, in the thriller Silence of the Lamb, by Jonathan Demme. The movie, where she plays alongside Anthony Hopkins will bring her international glory. Wanted to be as realistic as possible, Glenn Scott and Jodie Foster, had to follow a training at the FBI office, trying to learn the techniques and mental spirit of the agents. The role was refused by Michelle Pfeiffer. For that role, she will be awarded by another Golden Globe and another Oscar for Interpretation, evicting this time Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, Annette Bening and Laura Dern.
This role was one of the greatest performance of her career. In 2001, Foster was offered to take the role of Clarice Starling again for the second part of Silence of the Lamb, Hannibal. But Jodie refused. First because giving time to that movie would compromise her third film as a director, Flora Plum, that she had started, second because she thought the movie would betray Clarice Starling, and she didn’t want to play the character with negative attributes that she said were not part of her.
This refusal was harshly criticised and Juliana Moore ended up taking the role.
In 1991, she made her directorial debut with a movie, Little Man Tate. The movie deals with the problem of prodigy children through the story of Fred Tate, a prodigy child separated from his mother to attend a specialised institution. The film is critically acclaimed and enabled the actress Dianne West of playing wonderfully. Foster had the character of the mother of Fred.
Jodie than plays with Richard Gere in Sommersby, by Jon Amiel, which is another success. Once again, the movie has a deep meaning. It tells the story of Jock Sommersby, a man coming back to his village after civil war. He is happy to find his wife, but she doesn’t recognize the man she knew.
In 1994, she switches to a lighter register with a comedy, co-starring with Mel Gibson. She then comes back to a relatively serious subject with Nell, which is one of the best films of her career.
She then came back to directing, with a comedy, Home for the Holidays. Holly Hunter co-stars in the movie with Claire Danes. The movie is a box office success, but Jodie retires a little, devoting herself to her family.
After appearing in the TV series Frasier and X-Files, Jodie comes back to a 12 year old project with Contact. In 1985, George Miller, first director to show his interest in the movie, offers the role Ellie Arroway to Jodie. She accepted it without any hesitation. Meanwhile, the director of Mad Max was driven away from the project. 12 years later, Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future) takes the project in charge.
Two years later, she plays in Anne and the King, replacing Kate Winslet. But the movie was harshly criticised in Thailand and forbidden until edited to suit the censure in Thailand. The film only made about 40 million dollars in the State, for a budget of 75 million.
After a break of three years, Jodie produced and played in The Dangerous Lives of Aktar Boys, by Peter Care. Released in 2002, the film is a flop.
After the success failure of her last two movies, Jodie Foster takes the place of Nicole Kidman in Panic Room, the Hitchcock-like thriller, directed by the talented David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club). In 2004, Jodie plays in France in Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles, by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
She then appears in Flight Plan, by Robert Schwenkte, then Inside Man and The Brave one, and more recently, Nim’s Island, a children’s movie, shot in Australia.
On personal level, Foster is very discrete and tries to protect her privacy. She had two older sisters and one older brother, respectively called Lucinda Foster, Constance Foster and Lucius Buddy Foster. She said she only met her father three times in her life. She doesn’t really have a good relation with her brother, who wrote a book in which he claims Jodie is bisexual, and indirectly broke the heart of his mother saying she is lesbian. Jodie called the book "A cheap cry for attention and money filled with hazy recollections, fantasies and borrowed press releases. Buddy has done nothing but break our mother's heart his whole life."
Jodie Foster has two sons of her own, Charles and Christopher Foster, and has not revealed the identity of their fathers.