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Film

Jodie Foster picks her favourite Jodie Foster films

Born in Los Angeles, California in 1962, Jodie Foster – whose real name is Alicia – began her career at just three years old. Starting out as a child model, the star stepped foot in the world of acting in 1968 in the television series Mayberry R.F.D, alongside her brother Buddy, before taking on her first film role in 1972’s Napoleon and Samantha. Since then, Foster has been regarded as one of the finest actors of her generation, starring in countless films and television series, as well as directing a few of her own, including The Beaver (2011) and even the episode ‘Arkangel’ from the fourth series of Black Mirror (2017).

After starring in over 50 television series as a child, Foster’s mother worried that her daughter would not have a successful career if she continued to star in children’s entertainment. After a brief cameo in Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore in 1974, the director hired the young actor to star as child prostitute Iris in his heralded classic Taxi Driver in 1976. One of Foster’s favourite films she has ever worked on, Taxi Driver was a pivotal moment in Foster’s career. Her incredible performance led to widespread acclaim from critics, albeit alongside some concern, especially for her presence during the climactic shoot-out scene. However, in order to secure the role, Foster was psychologically tested by a UCLA psychiatrist to ensure that she would not be emotionally damaged from the film’s content.

Despite Foster explaining that she was given a demonstration of how the brutal scene was set up, which she found fascinating more than anything, in recent interviews, Foster describes her treatment on set as “uncomfortable”. Scorsese was unable to appropriately direct the young actor, leading the film’s star Robert De Niro to direct her on the filmmaker’s behalf. Foster described De Niro as a mentor figure, greatly influencing her future career choices. Speaking on the film, Foster said: “I think I knew when we made the movie that it was going to be something really important”.

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Off the back of Taxi Driver’s success, which earned Foster an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, she starred in a further string of successful productions, including Freaky Friday, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane and Bugsy Malone. She even became the youngest person to ever present Saturday Night Live, all projects coming in 1976 in what was a brutally hectic schedule.

However, Foster focused her attention in the early 1980s on studying and chose to attend Yale for Literature. Outside of term time, she continued acting, starring in such films as The Hotel New Hampshire and Claude Chabrol’s The Blood of Others, both of which were released in 1984. However, it was not until 1988 that Foster’s talents were recognised on a wider scale, a moment in which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in The Accused, a breakthrough role depicting a rape survivor. Foster almost decided to quit acting before this moment, however, the success of her performance led her to continue, and by 1991, Foster had landed one of the biggest roles of her career: starring as Clarice in Silence of the Lambs.

Her performance as the young FBI trainee sent to interview the spine-tinglingly frightening Hannibal Lecter, portrayed magnificently by Anthony Hopkins, is nothing short of incredible. The film made history by winning Best Actress for Foster, as well as Best Actor, Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Screenplay. Now, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind about the sheer talent that the actress possessed, however, she had even bigger aspirations. In the same year as Silence of the Lamb‘s release, Foster directed and co-starred in her first film Little Man Tate. Her directorial debut about a child prodigy reflects her own life although not directly autobiographical; she states: “Every movie changes me and it reflects me in some ways”.

Her biggest box office success came in the form of David Fincher’s 2002 thriller Panic Room, which grossed over $30 million upon its release weekend in North America alone. As a big fan of Fincher’s work, Foster described Panic Room as “masterfully directed” thus making it one of her favourite projects.

Another of Foster’s favourites is The Brave One, directed by Neil Jordan. Although not successful, Foster earned her sixth Golden Globe nomination for the film, which she describes as being “a general audience movie” that asks “the audience to be smarter than the genre.” Since then, Foster has continued to add many acting and directing credits to her name, recognised by Cannes Film Festival with an Honorary Palm D’Or award for lifetime achievement. See the full list, below.

Jodie Foster favourite Jodie Foster films:

  • Taxi Driver (1976)
  • Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  • Little Man Tate (1991)
  • Panic Room (2002)
  • The Brave One (2007)

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