Jodie Foster: At 55, ‘I can do what I want’
Jodie Foster, one of the most famous actresses in the world, is having a quiet night in.
“I’m at my house with my feet up,” the star, who’s been recovering from surgery after a February skiing accident, tells The Post.
The relaxed vibe is a relief for the intensely private actress, who normally does back-to-back phone interviews from desks in LA hotel rooms when she’s promoting movies. This time, she’s on her own couch.
“They were like, ‘You can do your phoners at home.’ And I was like, ‘What?! It’s a brand-new world!’”
Foster, 55, is all about being unrestricted at this point in her life. The Oscar winner, who stars in the new film “Hotel Artemis,” out Friday, says she has finally been able to choose her own adventure. Now, she only takes the parts she wants — calling herself “picky” — and has spent the last several years focusing on another passion: directing.
“I wanted to re-balance my work,” Foster. “You kind of have to choose, because they’re [each] really 150-percent careers.”
The actress is back in front of the cameras with “Hotel Artemis,” which comes after a five-year break from performing. Her last role was in “Elysium,” and like that 2013 flick, which co-starred Matt Damon, “Artemis” has many elements of science fiction — a genre Foster has grown fond of since starring in “Contact” in 1997.
“I love how predictive sci-fi is and has been,” she says. “I remember going to see … ‘The Matrix,’ and being like, ‘What?! A movie where a guy has an avatar and he’s actually on his couch and has no muscles? What?!’ And I’ve realized it’s just so predictive of where we’re headed.”
In “Hotel Artemis,” which also features Jeff Goldblum and Sterling K. Brown, she tackles the role of the Nurse, an eccentric who stitches up dangerous international criminals at a hotel in a dystopian LA.
The Nurse is far from Foster’s usual fare. For one, the character is 70 years old. She also has none of the actress’ signature confident swagger. The Nurse is a shut-in who shuffles through hallways, head down, and mutters with a Brooklyn accent, even though she lives in California. “Nobody in LA is from LA,” Foster says.
“I really wanted a transformation,” she adds. “That’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”
But while she was busy making herself totally unrecognizable, her co-star Goldblum was Jeffing it up.
“There’s nobody like him,” Foster says of working with the zany actor. “He’s always Jeff Goldblum no matter what he’s in. It doesn’t matter if he’s playing an 18th-century prince. It doesn’t make any difference. He’s always Jeff Goldblum!”
Foster has worked with countless other stars — among them Kate Winslet, Uma Thurman and Anthony Hopkins — over the course of her long career. As a 3-year-old in LA, she began working as a model in TV commercials because showbiz was in the family. Her mother, Evelyn, was a small-time actress. Her dad, Lucius, from whom she’s now estranged, was a lieutenant colonel in the military. But she never thought an ad for Coppertone would snowball into a full-blown Hollywood career.
“If I had a choice, I probably would’ve ended up being a lawyer,” says Foster, who married photographer Alexandra Hedison in 2014 and has two children, ages 17 and 20. Acting, she says, “is not my personality.”
Nevertheless, she went on to star in some of Hollywood’s most acclaimed films, including “Taxi Driver,” “The Accused” and “The Silence of the Lambs,” winning Oscars for the latter two. During her five-decades-long career, she’s seen the industry make huge changes. Many were for the better, such as the inclusion of more women in producing, writing and directing roles.
“When I was first starting, there were no women,” she says. “It was just me and the lady who played my mom. And sometimes a script supervisor or makeup artist.
“I think it got a lot healthier, and it felt better for everybody when women came into the picture.”
But, she adds, the business of filmmaking has lost its soul. Foster feels that big-budget superhero movies have cannibalized the kind of character-driven films she dazzled audiences with during the ’80s and ’90s.
“I’d like there to be more movies out there that people will go see on an opening weekend that are real stories about real people that don’t feel manufactured in order to get as many asses in seats as possible,” she says. “[Studios] have taken that bet and said, ‘We’re gonna be all in on movies that cost $200 million plus. Damn it, we’re gonna put it on 4,000 screens, and we’re gonna get as many people that first weekend as we can, and we’re gonna sell as much Coca-Cola as possible.’ ”
Nowadays, the best stuff, the actress insists, can be found at art houses or on television. She’s dived head-first into TV, directing episodes of “House of Cards,” “Orange Is the New Black” and, most recently, “Black Mirror” for Netflix. Foster seems to be content working more than ever.
“I feel a kind of freedom now as an actress that I haven’t had in my career,” she says. “I’m 55. I can do what I want. So, if I feel like doing a tiny little part in a little indie movie with a first-time guy that’s shot on his iPhone in his apartment, I can do that.”