It’s a matter of what moves me: Actor Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster speaks to Adam Stone about how she chooses roles, playing a mean sleuth in the new series, True Detective, and gender parity in Hollywood.
Actor Jodie Foster.
Actor Jodie Foster.

Who do you play in True Detective?

I play Elizabeth Danvers. She is the chief of Ennis Police in Alaska. I would describe her as cynical. She is hardened, sort of oblivious and self-absorbed, and she says mean things to people without realising it. She is also pretty tough and a great detective. That’s what I appreciate the most about her.

You shot much of True Detective in Iceland. What was the experience like?

I loved every minute of it. We spent the first few months in Reykjavik, which is the perfect city. It’s beautiful and the weather was great. There was no snow, so we were able to hang out in the open. And then exactly when we needed snow, we got tons of it. We shot in Akureyri and Dalvikn too, and that was also extraordinarily beautiful.

It’s been exactly 55 years since you made your acting debut. How has the industry changed since then?

A lot. My first job was actually a TV commercial, which I did a couple of years before my debut. I was three years old and the only other female I saw on set was the lady who played my mom. There were no women in the film business back then. Little by little, things started to change. I’m happy that now we have reached a place over the last 20 years where there are women directors.

Do you think things will continue to improve in the acting business when it comes to equality?

I think so, and in every industry. We are in a moment of change and the culture is awakening. We are getting better. But, we need to have a reckoning and reconciliation. People need to look back at the darker parts of our past and figure out how we can move forward and be better.

You have done diverse roles throughout your career. How do you go about choosing projects today?

It’s simply a matter of what moves me. Sometimes that may bring me to a small supporting character or it could be a leading role. But it’s something I feel a connection with. It must feel relevant to me, and maybe ask questions that I have about my own life.

How does it feel to be revered as a role model for others in your industry?

I still find it hard to believe that anyone would consider me a role model. Some people put me on a pedestal, but I don’t. If I have helped inspire even one person to achieve their goals, I’m truly humbled.

Describe your relationship with fame.

Fame is the price you have to pay for success. That’s how it has always been. Getting dressed up, putting on makeup and posing for photos; is just work. Fame can make you shallow because of its perks or it can do the opposite; make you fiercely grounded and responsible for holding onto what’s real for you. I guess I fall into the latter category.

What do you think is the difference between being a child actor now to when you were growing up?

It’s a whole different world now with the intrusions and being paid so much. We didn’t have that. All of those things impact your emotional well-being. It’s much harder to be a healthy young actor now than it was when I was young.

What are your thoughts on ageing?

It’s not a big deal to me. I like that I don’t have to compete anymore the way you do when you’re 20. There are certain things I don’t worry about now and that’s the positive of getting older. It’s like, ‘I’ve done it this far, so how bad can it get?’

What do you think you would be doing now if you hadn’t made it in films?

When I was a kid, my mom would ask me if I was going to be a doctor or a lawyer, but it was never an actor, even though I was acting at the time. She wanted to make sure that I didn’t have the delusion to do this forever because the truth is that most child actors just disappear. My mom just wanted me to be a respected professional. What I wanted to do when I was little was be a professional talker (laughs). The thing that I really love doing is teaching, so maybe I could have been a teacher. It is the one thing I would have loved to have done.

Do you still have goals as an actor you want to achieve or do you think you have done it all?

No way. There are still so many things I want to do. That’s why I love this business because there is always so much more to learn and experience. Every time you make a film or a show, you find out something new about yourself and about society. I can’t wait to learn more

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The New Indian Express