74th Cannes Film Festival: Jodie Foster Palme d’Or of honor, “I think I scare some men”

Forty-five years later, the American actress and director, who speaks French so well for having studied at the French college in Los Angeles, is back in Cannes to receive the Festival’s Palme d’or d’honneur from the hands of the Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, during the opening night of the Festival.

But it was this Wednesday that she confided without complex and with a good dose of humor. Selected pieces, again in impeccable French. Moreover, in the room, one of his former teachers stands up, smiling. Jodie Foster beams: “At the time, I was talkative. I was told “Jodie Foster, shut up!” “.

But that is the past. Today, we listen to him religiously: “I started my career with “Taxi Driver”, here. But it had started badly. When I arrived at the airport, my dog, a Yorkshire terrier, fell down the stairs and died in my arms. A lot of people thought I was too young to play a prostitute, but I took some tests to convince them.”

If Jodie Foster has never been rewarded with an interpretation prize at Cannes, she received two Oscars, one of which for “The Accused” by Jonathan Demme (1988) where she plays a young woman raped by three men. “It was a point of reference. It was said, even among certain critics, that my character had looked for it a little, in a bar, with her skirt. It got us in a lot of trouble.”

And to engage on the situation of women in Hollywood: “I think this film is a point of reference. When I started my job, there were no women on set, just make-up artists and the script. For a long time, there were no female directors while there were female heads of studios. But we thought it was too risky. Today that has changed and I am delighted with the breakthrough of women in Hollywood”.

It was again under the direction of Jonathan Demme that Jodie Foster received her second Oscar, for “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991): “We knew that something important was going on. Jonathan had filmed some comedic scenes and I was afraid that he wouldn’t take the subject of the film seriously enough, I was worried. But it was during the editing that I discovered “his” film.

Playing alongside Anthony Hopkins marked Jodie Foster, the actress: “He is brilliant and so nice, he is an extraordinary actor. I was scared the first time I met him but also during the whole shoot. On the last day, I revealed it to him and he said to me: I too was afraid of you!

If the general public essentially knows Jodie Foster the actress, she is also a director who drew her inspiration from some of the filmmakers under whose direction she shot: “I was able to look over the shoulders of great directors like Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Claude Chabrol, Jean-Pierre Jeunet. But the two who have influenced me the most are David Fincher and Neil Jordan. The first is the one who taught me the most, he is the greatest technician I know, and he also has absolute confidence in his ideas. Neil Jordan is a poet, he is Irish. He arrives on set, he has planned things but he is completely open, like during rehearsals at the theater where he asks you lots of questions.

How does director Jodie Foster behave with her fellow actors? “I think directors are like parents, you direct your actors, it’s true, but you all walk together. And even if they argue, you still love them”.

And to encourage women to stay the course, despite the “permanent mini-aggressions”: “Personally, I remain calm, I do not lie, I am direct and I do not cry. Maybe that’s why I scare some men!

A man whom Jodie Foster does not scare is certainly Thierry Frémaux, the general delegate of the Festival who is certain that one day, Jodie Foster will be president of the jury of the Festival. Of which act!

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74th Cannes Film Festival: Jodie Foster Palme d’Or of honor, “I think I scare some men”