“I’m 50! I’m 50!”

Jodie Foster, famous since age three, talks to More about her grownup life

by Susan Toepfer
jodie foster image
Photograph: PR Photos

“Well for all of you SNL fans, I’m 50! I’m 50!” That’s how Jodie Foster began her memorable 2013 Golden Globes speech, adding “I was going to bring my walker tonight, but it didn’t go with cleavage.”
 
How does it feel to review her 47 years in film? “Looking at all those clips,” she said, “you know the hairdos and the freaky platform shoes, it’s like a home movie nightmare that just won’t end.”
 
On stage to accept the Cecil B. DeMille award, Foster thanked pals Robert and Susan Downey and Mel Gibson, the costar she has supported through troubled times. Speaking elliptically, but as publicly as she ever has about her private life, Foster also praised her co-parent (with sons Charlie and Kit) and former partner, Cydney Bernard. Most poignantly, the two-time Oscar winner spoke directly to her mother and former manager, Brandy, who now suffers from dementia:
 
“Mom I know you’re inside those blue eyes somewhere and that there are so many things that you won’t understand tonight, but this is the only important one to take in: I love you, I love you, I love you. And I hope that if I say this three times, it will magically and perfectly enter into your soul, fill you with grace, and the joy of knowing that you did good in this life. You’re a great mom. Please take that with you when you’re finally OK to go.”
 
In three cover stories over the last decade, Foster has shared her thoughts with More. Here are some excerpts:
 
On her mother’s influence: 
“[Brandy’s] vicarious thrill was, ‘You will be respected in ways that I wasn’t.’ Until I was 16, I don’t even think I read most of the scripts I got. She chose them for me. We’d discuss the character, but it really did come from her psyche. And that’s how I learned her…Because her obsessions were based on her past—the feminism of the 1940s and being a Depression child. She wanted to be somebody who stood on her own, somebody who wasn’t a slave to someone else.”

On her private life:
"I think of myself as phenomenally open. My children would say that, the people who know me would say that, the people who see me in the park would say that. Because when you have kids, you have to be open. Otherwise, what kind of message would that send? You can make a choice that brings them dignity or you can make a choice that’s some hiding, shameful thing. I always choose dignity."
 
On John Hinckley Jr.’s 1981 attempt to assassinate President Reagan in a bid to impress her:
"I want people to remember me as an actor, not some historical footnote….[But] suddenly I understood something I hadn’t understood before. I saw ahead of me the life I had been leading, and I didn’t want to be Tom Cruise."

“You know, the division between sanity and insanity is so arbitrary. Isn’t it possible that we all have that bit of insanity in us? That’s why I’m for gun control. Absolutely. Hunting, I get that—let’s protect hunting. But I don’t believe that people should have access to life-or-death situations at any emotional time in their life. I don’t really believe that a human being who feels [things] should have the option at their fingertips to use this many calories.” [Mimes pulling a trigger]

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