“I love, love, love that you guys are bilingual. It makes me feel like I’ve got a purpose.”
Well, hey, Jodie, we do what we can.
Yeah, that’s right. She’s not just gorgeous and talented and well-respected and generally awesome. Jodie Foster also speaks better French than most people who went through bilingual school with me, myself included. Sigh. She got to show off that particular skill in the ballroom at the Sutton Place hotel, where the media was packed to the rafters for the presser for The Brave One. She answered two questions in French and then provided her own translation, impressing the pants off co-star Terrence Howard. (Not literally. Unfortunately.)
First thing you notice? Foster is beyond petite, she’s wee. It’s something she acknowledges: “I’m not Arnold Schwarzenegger, I’m not an action hero. [My character’s] power does not come from her body. She’s a ghost … and this [gun] in her pocket materializes her.”
Despite her size, no one would call Foster ghost-like; she’s a commanding presence, with those big eyes and sharp features. But the most surprising thing about her is how enthusiastic she is.
Asked to compare The Brave One to one of her iconic films, Taxi Driver, she spouts a term paper about the difference between post-Vietnam New York and post-9/11 New York, the Disneyfication of Times Square and how her character still doesn’t feel safe in this safest of all cities. It’s obvious she’d thought about it before the question was asked, but it doesn’t make her genuine joy at talking about it any less impressive.
Howard, who’s even better-looking in real life than he is on screen, and was wearing several shades of blue that set off his amazing eyes, spoke in his soft, high voice about getting involved in the project: “I didn’t know if I was going to play a 16-year-old girl in the movie. You hear that Joel Silver’s producing it, Jodie Foster’s starring, Neil Jordan’s directing – I’m not gonna say no.”
Super-producer Joel Silver, apparently, can be very persuasive. Dressed in a pale pink blazer and hot pink, patent leather shoes, looking like a Miami version of Harvey Weinstein, he talked about getting Neil Jordan involved in what was essentially a genre pic on the page: “I’ve got a phone number, I’m going to use it.”
It was Foster who initially suggested Jordan, in fact. “I’ve realized that I’m really only happy when I’m working with directors I really respect and admire. Isn’t it stupid that it took me 40 years to realize that?”
Not to worry, Jodie, you still come off pretty smart to everyone else.