Retiring? Perish the thought.
Minutes after delivering an emotional but sometimes oblique lifetime achievement kudo acceptance, Jodie Foster came backstage and seemeed genuinely surprised when reporters told her that people interpreted it as her announcing her retirement.
With a laugh, she dismissed the notion of leaving the biz with the pluck and determination that she has brought to so many roles.
“I could never stop acting,” she said. “You’d have to drag me behind a team of horses. I’d like to be directing tomorrow if I could.”
So what was she trying to say in a speech that ranged from referencing “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” to her relationship status (“single”) to the blue eyes of her mother, who suffers from dementia. “I hope you guys weren’t hoping this would be a big coming out speech tonight,” she said. “I already did my coming out a thousand years ago, in the Stone Age.” She later thanked her ex-partner and co-parent Cydney Bernard, calling her “one of the deepest loves of my life.”
“People change, and change is important,” Foster said. “Hopefully I’ll be doing different things than I did when I was 3 years old and when I was 6 years old and when I was 20 years old.”
But when pressed to elaborate on her intentions, Foster stood firm.
“The speech speaks for itself. It’s an expression of who I am and what I’m feeling. It’s a big long career, it’s friendships and relationships and this is one of the first lifetime achievement awards. It feels like I’m graduating from something. It’s a big moment and I wanted to say what’s most in my heart.”
It was clear that her mother was much on her mind. She recalled her taking her to foreign films when she was a kid, even at the expense of her homework. And she recalled her cautious approach to Foster’s career.
“My mom prepared me for my career to be over by the time I was 18,” she said.
Now the she has defied the odds against child actors having long runs in showbiz, Foster said she feels protective of young up-and-comers like Kristen Stewart and Jennifer Lawrence.
“I feel like have managed to get through the process (of transitioning) relatively sanely, but I have my scars,” she said. “I hope in some way to be a member of their family, out there protecting them.”