Ben Foster stars in five big-screen releases this year, including the current “Hell or High Water” and the Ron Howard movie “Inferno,” which debuts in October. Earlier this year, he starred with Gillian Anderson in “A Streetcar Named Desire” after its transfer to the New York stage from Britain’s National Theatre. Upcoming for Foster: the release of a music video he directed.
What is the biggest change in the industry since you started?
The stigma of TV has shifted dramatically. It’s really exciting; it feels like the Wild West right now. The best writers seem to be heading toward television. I’m open to anything. I think a long-term TV show is probably not for me, but doing a few years of something could be interesting.
Is “Hell or High Water” different from your other films?
I don’t usually watch my own films, but this one I’ve seen twice. It deals with a subject that’s endlessly interesting to me: brothers, sacrifice, and, when your back is against the wall, what will you do to take care of your family? It’s touching on some very important subjects in a very subtle way, while being a very entertaining ride. Taylor Sheridan wrote one hell of a screenplay, and [director] David Mackenzie brought it to life.
Why don’t you like watching your own films?
I just don’t have a lot of interest in watching them if they’re done. I enjoy the build, and if I’m honest about it, I just don’t care to review it. It feels like a love affair gone past. I don’t feel like re-reading the Valentines. Maybe when I’m an older man, I’ll have something to look forward to, but right now I just like making things.
What led to your work in “Streetcar”?
I got a phone call. “A Streetcar Named Desire” is one of the best, if not the best, modern American plays. It deals with family dynamics, mental health, PTSD, war, and love. It’s hard to beat. So getting to climb Tennessee Williams’ words every night was a privilege.
|What you didn’t know about Ben Foster|
|AGE: 35 provenance: Born in Boston; raised in Iowa FAVORITE BOOKS: “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Franny and Zooey” PROFESSIONAL debut: The Disney Channel 1996 series “Flash Forward” other hats: Directed Emily Wells’ music video “Pack of Nobodies”|