Jodie Foster has established herself as one of the finest
dramatic actors of her generation, whether she’s fighting a pair of airborne
conspirators, as she did in . But the two-time Oscar winner has
rarely made movies fit for family consumption, much less her own two children.
That’s about to change.
With Nim’s Island, in which Foster
plays an agoraphobic San Francisco
author who is compelled to overcome her demons by a child stranded on a remote
tropical island, she has finally made a movie even her kids can enjoy.
“I remember doing
Maverick about 15 years ago and thinking
that I really needed to do another
comedy,” she says. “It’s such a fun experience, and I was eager to explore that
side of myself, but it took me this long to find a script that really captured
“It’s the first time my children [Charles, 9, and Kit, 6]
were able to watch me act, and that was part of the appeal for me. Most of the
time, they stay in the trailer and we have lunch together. This time, they came
to the set and saw me in action, and that was something I really enjoyed.”
While Foster had
not read Wendy Orr’s popular fantasy novel,
which inspired the movie, she was drawn to it after accepting the role, though
she prefers directors Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett’s cinematic treatment.
such a great idea,” she says. “I think the
characters Wendy Orr created are still there, though they’re a bit more
developed in the movie. With comedy, you see drama flipped on its side.
Personally, I love characters that have solitary, creative experiences and yet
grapple with loneliness. I love women trying to figure out how to be heroes. In
this movie I found them, and I had a chance to poke fun at some of my more
Although Foster acknowledges her preference for drama, she
remains open to the possibility of another comedy, so long as her character’s
integrity is not compromised. In Nim’s Island, she has found a character she respects and can present to her
children without any regrets.
“It’s refreshing to see a kid’s movie without
and planets exploding,” she says. “This movie encourages us to be students of
the planet – to learn how to cook for ourselves, to climb volcanoes and get our
fingernails dirty. My character has to learn how to do that.
“If my own children watch it and
want to get into the
movies, I wouldn’t discourage it. Times have changed since I got into the
business, and I would encourage them to experiment in community theater and
test the waters in that respect. When they’re 18, they will make their own
decisions. Until then, I change the subject whenever they talk about wanting to
be on TV.”