photos | staff photographer | set on Flickr
authored by Grace Dulce & Meghan Dubitsky
On A drizzly Wednesday afternoon inside the swanky Ritz Carlton in downtown San Franciso, two-time Academy Award winner Jodie Foster walks in the room barefoot with her black Manolo Blahnik pumps dangling from her hand. Dressed in all black, the blue-eyed star commands the room as she drops her shoes and takes her seat front and center.
“Hi guys,” she says with the same bright smile you see on the silver screen.
Alicia Christian “Jodie” Foster began acting in television commercials at the early age of three. Aside from receiving numerous accolades, including two Golden Globes, a SAG and a People’s Choice Award, Foster is also a graduate of Yale University where she received a bachelor’s degree in literature.
Now forty-eight, this Hollywood veteran is directing her third movie, The Beaver, released May 6. Acting alongside Hollywood heavyweight Mel Gibson, Foster plays Meredith Black, wife of mentally unstable Walter Black (Gibson) who tries to cure his depression with the help of a beaver puppet. While the film has a quirky tone, the film focuses on depression and the struggles it creates for families.
“The understanding of depression in this film is a broad spectrum,” Foster says. “Clinical and chemical depression, [and to know] that talk therapy is not gonna work. You need medication, you need to be incarcerated, and you need help because you can’t do it alone. That is at the furthest end of the spectrum and at the other end is life. Which is sad and it gets heavy and it’s a roller coaster.”
Throughout the filming process Foster discussed character motivations with the actors, while allowing instincts guide them.
“It’s really up to them to deliver emotionally and to make those choices,” she says. “Those moments just happen and you just hope the camera is in the right place. There’s a lot of planning to support what hasn’t happened yet.”
Foster admits that the final scene was the hardest to shoot which also happens to her favorite.
The emotional ending features a conversation between Walter and his oldest son Porter (Anton Yelchin), the filming of which involved a lot of rewrites and discussions between Foster and the actors. Ultimately, it was decided the scene only really needed three lines of dialogue because the actors’ performances were so emotional.
“It was so hard to get there,” she says. “[That scene] has the two most powerful lines in the movie, but what we realized is, honestly I could have that scene have no dialogue whatsoever and it would still be my favorite scene.”
With two upcoming film projects and a track record, as successful as Foster’s, having a college degree is still important for the star. Foster, who graduated magna cum laude understands the economic hardships many college students are facing today.
“My nieces and nephews are going through the same thing where they’ve been in school forever and they get out there and there’s no jobs,” she says with concern. “I remembered when I graduated I slept a lot, and that lasted about six months.”
She advises the upcoming graduates to take their time to think about what it is they really want to do with your future. “You have to realize— you don’t have a family, you don’t have to support anyone or pay taxes. Use that time to not worry so much because eventually you’re gonna be stuck,” she says, laughing. “I’m really glad that I had the time to just sit there, and watch old movies.”