Five minutes with Jodie Foster

By Michele Manelis

Cast member Jodie Foster poses at the premiere for the movie "Hotel Artemis" in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Cast member Jodie Foster poses at the premiere for the movie "Hotel Artemis" in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

A safe house hospital for criminals becomes a battleground in a near-future action film starring Jodie Foster as the hotel’s chief nurse in her late 60s.

Two-time Oscar winner Jodie Foster chats to MiNDFOOD about everything from her upcoming movie Hotel Artemis, to her love for music and the thrill she gets from aging.

Why Hotel Artemis?

I am so picky that it takes me years to find something that I am interested in, and then when I do, I know that it’s something I want to immediately do. I had to fight a little, transformations-wise, for my character, I didn’t want her to be someone I had played before. Also, to have that change in physicality, and to honour the life that she lived, which is drinking and drugs, losing a child and being stuck in a kind of weird gilded prison for the past 20 years and never gone outside. Mostly to just feel the hard knocks of that life and the rawness of what that life has left.

How do you feel about getting older especially as an actress?

It’s not as big a leap I think as it might be for other actresses. It is interesting getting older, it’s like curiosity, like wow, my skin is getting different and I can’t do that. I’ve had such a rich, full life, and it doesn’t preoccupy me.

What about the pressure to look young?

I feel no pressure about that. I think it’s just not my personality, and maybe it never was my personality.

You seem like a very determined person; do you know what you want?

Yes, and that is the good news and the bad news. I mean, I can be too controlling. I know that with my children, they complain about it all the time – that I can be too controlling – but I have tried to work on that.

Your first movie was your most acclaimed movie.

Yes, Little Man Tate.

You said you were controlling, were you more controlling at that time?
Way more controlling. I feel bad for the people who worked for me on my first film, and I think I love the movie – I am not going to say it’s not a mature film – I think it’s true of who I was at that time. It’s a young person’s film, a coming of age movie about that experience. I do think my movies are much more mature as I have gotten older, and are about different things and they may not appeal to as many people and they may not be as critically acclaimed, but I think that they are growing in maturity, as I have.

What was the movie that changed your life?
So many. The Deer Hunter was a huge movie for me and a lot of the French nouveau movies from the late 50s and early 60s. Small movies about people are the ones that changed my life.

What about #TimesUp. What are your hopes?

Well, I am not a good spokesman. I resist this attempt to sound bite such an important moment in history, and I think we suffer when there are just too many sound bites out there. I don’t think anyone needs to hear another actor talk about it in a way.

How does music influence your career as an actress?
Music was such a huge part of my life as a young person and as a filmmaker – it’s my favorite part of the process – figuring out the music, the songs and the rhythm of that. I feel like it’s the thing at the end of the movie, when everything else is done, that comes in and erases all the seams.

How is your mother? I know that she was ailing.

My mother couldn’t be doing better [laughter]. She is going to outlive all of us. She wants to live on her own, so she lives on her own, but with many caregivers. She has dementia, and is very far down the path of dementia. But all she wants to do is watch movies. Her two favourite things in the world are watching movies and eating, and that is what she does. But it’s difficult.

What do you binge watch on TV?

I am not the most plugged-in person, and I sort of wait to hear what is great and I don’t usually last past two seasons of anything. Maybe Breaking Bad or Sopranos. I think I am used to features where I am like, ‘oh yeah, I know those characters and now I don’t need to see them anymore.’

What is your relationship with technology and gadgets?
Sort of okay, and then just awful. I feel sad about the music thing, we were talking about music and the technology revolution, the digital revolution that should have made music easier to access, and should make me able to see all this new kind of music and experience it, it didn’t work that way for me. It cut me off completely from music and I curse the new technology for that. I went why I have CD’s and why doesn’t my CD player work? They are like no, you can’t use a CD player anymore. Why not? You can’t use one anymore. So I just never made that leap, and that makes me sad, that I don’t, it hurt my relationship with music.

Go back to vinyl?

Go back to vinyl, right? I have computers and stuff and I do all that, but I don’t have any social media at all, and I don’t miss it, and I don’t care. I don’t know what other people are doing while I am not on social media, but I have a nostalgia for a time when we weren’t so interconnected.

What is the most exclusive hotel that you have been in?
I have been to some great hotels in my life, and I do love hotels. There’s the hotel itself and then there is the stepping stone to the culture that it is in, which I love, a connection to the culture that it’s in. I don’t want to tell you the most exclusive one, because then it will be ruined.

Favourite memory being in a hotel?

I have memories of being, my fondest memory of being in a hotel was being in a Holiday Inn, when I was 12 doing Bugsy Malone. There weren’t very many Americans, there were mostly English actors that were in that movie, and they were all kids, but a lot of us were staying at the Holiday Inn in Slau, and if any of you know Slau, it’s right next to the airport, it’s right next to Heathrow and it’s not a pretty place. It had ping pong and the smell of chlorine, and I had never had so much fun in my life.

What calms you down at the end of the day?

Well, I turn off MSNBC and CNN. I actually meditate, and I do it every day – I have done it for a long time. And I ski.

I didn’t know that that was calming.

Oh yeah, because you can’t think of anything else or you will die. So if you are down a hill and going incredibly fast, and you start thinking about taxes or Trump or whatever, you will crash immediately!


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