Jodie Foster Calls Out Male Filmmakers for Relying on Rape Stories for Women

During Variety and Kering’s Women in Motion talk at the Cannes Film Festival, “Money Monster” director and Oscar-winning actress Jodie Foster spoke out about a common storyline for female characters in film. One of her biggest pet peeves as an actor, she said, is that male writers would “go to rape” to provide motivation for women.

“‘I wonder why she was a box of tears?'” asks Foster, speaking as a male writer. “‘Oh, she was raped.'”

Foster provided more examples, such as when women are having trouble with their bosses or superiors in a story. She came to the same conclusion: “Well, it was because she was raped and you’re going to find that out in the end.”


Jodie Foster: Studios Are Scared of Women, Says Blockbuster Culture Harms Movie Industry

The actress called this trend “ridiculous,” stating that this background to female characters was embedded in many movies she watched.

“If you really got to what was the overriding motivation that that woman that you found out at the end, it was always rape because for some reason men saw that as — they did — they saw that as this incredibly dramatic thing,” she added. “‘Well that’s easy! I can just pluck that one out of the sky and apply it to her.'”

Foster also mentioned that it’s because men have not been interested in any “complex merging” with a female character. “They were unable to put themselves in her shoes and her body and say, ‘She was competitive with her mother’… They were unable to make that transition.”

Foster is no stranger to equality in the business. She’s been a fervent advocate of equal pay for women in entertainment and has been outspoken about the lack of female filmmakers, having called it “neglect.”

“Money Monster,” starring Julia Roberts and George Clooney, hits theaters on May 13.

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  1. JrSlims says:

    I agree it’s lazy writing but female writers do this too. Thelma and Louise, Boys Don’t Cry, Monster, Room, Hounddog… Just a stupid comment.

  2. Umm, Does Jodie Foster not remember one of her movies called “The Accused” where Foster was BRUTALLY BEATEN and GANG-RAPED and had a TRAIN RAN ON HER FOR OVER AN HOUR? Did she also forget that she won an oscar for that role? I guess since she believes that rape is now just an over-used TROPE, she’ll be turning back in that Oscar in protest. Oh wait, probably not. lol. There’s no question that Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart, both closet lesbians sure sound a lot alike in interviews. Tone-deaf and utterly hypocritical… Yuck. What a morally repugnant creature.

    • Dedj says:

      Yeah, it’s almost as if she’s capable of intellectually dealing with being in a film about a rape, whilst also being capable of dealing with films that become about rape due to lazy writing.

      How dare she view two different contexts as different contexts! Doesn’t see know our own rage makes us unable to see the difference?!

    • Bill B. says:

      I do think these are pretty odd comments coming from someone who had immense success playing a rape victim, but I don’t think either she or Stewart are in the closet anymore, though I think Stewart is more a bisexual than gay & probably doesn’t care what anyone thinks. As much as I like her, Foster did no service to gay people by hiding what she was for so many years.

  3. Men maybe, but women aren’t using rape as a “lazy” plot twist. Screenwriter turned author Mylo Carbia famously wrote her #1 Bestselling horror/thriller novel “The Raping of Ava DeSantis” because she knew it couldn’t sell as a screenplay. Now that it’s selling a gazillion copies around the world, Hollywood comes knocking. Such a double standard.

  4. So you going to hand back that first Oscar then Jodie? Or maybe you going to do a film about a frikkin’ woman or you just going to be like every other modern liberal and bitch about something without taking matters into your own hands. LIke seriously, most male filmmakers, and filmmakers in general, aren’t millionaires. And the reason most stay in business is because they do whatever the studio hands them. You have influence. Don’t be Jennifer Lawrence, be Jessica Chastain. You complain about lack of female empowerment? Start a studio and make stories. Set an example. Don’t be naive and expect everyone to change their mindset with what sounds like a just your own personal opinion. Show why those films are needed and make them happen! Studios and filmmakers respond to what sells. Show strong female stories can sell and they will follow suit.

    • Ken says:

      Hang on there. Nothing hypocritical about what Ms. Foster is saying. The gang rape depicted in “The Accused”, and Foster’s character’s behaviour leading up to it…and the legal entanglements that follow, were all germane to the powerful photoplay. “Rape” was not just a lazy, facile plot point here. Ms. Foster has set an example for “female empowerment” in film after film…”Silence/Lambs”, “Flight Plan”, ‘Panic Room”, “The Brave One” (none of which, if memory serves, relied on the overused “rape” theme)..and even, in its own peculiar way, “Nell”. Ms. Foster has been in the biz for decades; I think she knows what she’s talking about.

      • Dedj says:

        “I’m literally hearing no argument.”

        Then you’re literally incapable of understanding it.

        Rape wasn’t a plot device in The Accused : it was literally the plot. A plot that was based on an actual event.

        Not a lazy cookie-cutter inclusion, not a plot device, not something to get the story moving along: it was the whole plot.

        That’s substantially different to using rape as a plot device for the reasons Jodie Foster blasted people for. She blasted the lazy writers who pluck it out of the air, not anyone who develops it into a “powerful and well developed plot device”.

        You’re holding her to arguements she never made.

      • Also “Ms. Foster has been in the biz for decades; I think she knows what she’s talking about.” isn’t good enough and only proves incompetence. Studios don’t make choices off misogynist ideals regardless of what people like you think. They do what sells. No great film was every made without risk so for Foster to change the game she needs to put her own money in and do the risk which she won’t. I will also point out all the films she has directed are male-led films so once again hypocrite. Female empowerment is an oxymoron in ideas. You shouldn’t be making films about women overcoming adversity (Almost all the films you mentioned involve her playing naive or weaker females who have to spend half the movie just proving their worth.). Just do films about female leads! “Flight Plan” and “Die Hard”…what is the difference? Both are films about people trapped in confined areas and have to fight for their loved ones and both are not trusted by the authorities. Difference? John McClane doesn’t spend half the movie making you wonder if he’s capable or even mentally sound whereas half of “Flight Plan” she has to prove she’s not crazy. So in the mindset, females apparently are always underestimated in their films. That is not empowerment, that continues the crippling aspect. Saying “rape” is used as a lazy plot point is no different then men in films having “Lost someone” before finding their strength. Not all films will get it right, but it’s not going to disappear because it can be a powerful emotional motivator for the character.

      • I’m literally hearing no argument. LOL All you’re saying is that rape was the conduit of a great and powerful legal thriller, but you also are not disproving the separate point that that role got her an Oscar and she wants to tell people to stop using it when “The Acxused” proves it’s a powerful plot device.

  5. Daniel says:

    Where to begin with this reverse-misogynistic mindset. A lesbian who has chosen to be so for some personal and clear anger she has with the male sex. And the lack of attention that she earned with her own rape victim film, she is trying to apply again now, but too much time passed for equal recognition has made her bitter. I wonder what she teaches her sons.

    • Swann says:

      Yes, women become lesbians because they hate men… Are you for real? And if so what century did you just time-travel from?

  6. majorstyles says:

    Ok, Jodie…rape culture. Yawn.

    She is clearly losing her mind after hitting the wall. So now that she cannot garner male attention like before, she just starts yelling “rape!”

    It shows a complete lack of honor and integrity. Which, I am sure, she never had much of to begin with.

  7. Jack Monte says:

    What an easy way to get headlines. We’ll see how original Money Monster is. Must be Citizen Kane with her attention to detail. Every movie does have a rape scene or backstory. Wonder Woman was raped. Joy had rape in it. Star wars had a rape as the reason Rey lives alone I believe. How about just calling out there is too much bad writing going on in Hollywood right now period. And it’s not man vs woman or black vs white that the Hollywood problem, it not enough lower economic people get their shot. And that doesn’t mean someone from a developing country or poorest of neighborhoods filling the demographic. It also needs to happen with studios giving jobs to people that aren’t their friends so they can work their way up. But studios are so inbred with favortism and nepotism, it’s no wonder inept people run the studios.

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