Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster has been critical of how frequently male screenwriters have incorporated sexual assault into the backstories of their female characters.

The actress may have won an Oscar for portraying a survivor of rape in The Accused, but she told The Hollywood Reporter that she was “always shocked” by the over-reliance of sexual assault as a source of motivation for female characters’ actions.

“For most of my career, I was always shocked that so many of the scripts that I read, the entire motivation for the female character was that she’d been traumatized by rape. That seemed to be the only motivation that male screenwriters could come up with for why women did things,” Foster said. “‘She’s kind of in a bad mood, yeah, there’s definitely some rape in her past.’”

“Rape or molestation seemed to be the one kind of lurid, big emotional backstory that they could understand in women. And I didn’t take it personally,” she said. “But once I was old enough, I think I did have a responsibility to come in and say, ‘You’re not always going to get the most perfectly fleshed-out female character, but maybe there’s an opportunity for us to work together and create something that way?’”

Despite this, Foster added that she reckons the gender balance in Hollywood is improving and that, as she’s gotten older, she’s enjoyed a greater sense of freedom in her roles.

“I’ve never been as happy as an actor as when I turned 60. There’s just some kind of contentedness about it not being all about me and walking onto a set and saying, ‘How can my experience or whatever my wisdom is, how can it serve you?’” Foster said. “Bringing that to the table, not only is it more fun and more freeing, but it’s also easy. It’s super easy because you’re not filled with anxiety about the things that maybe younger people are filled with anxiety about.”

She added: “Little by little, as women came on to movie sets, it was just this fantastic thing. There would be one other female on set and then there would be two and then maybe three. And that kept growing — except there were never female directors.But there’s this misconception that somehow female actresses are at each other or they don’t like each other or whatever. Even this year, going to the various events [for ‘Nyad’], it always just feels so nice because the women really feel like they want each other to succeed.”

In other news, Foster revealed that she shared her concerns for Robert Downey Jr. while directing him in the Thanksgiving comedy Home For The Holidays.

Beginning production in 1995, the film overlapped with Downey Jr.’s struggles with addiction and crime, having been arrested in 1994 for possession of heroin, cocaine and a gun.

The Silence Of The Lambs star said that she “took him to one side” before saying: “Look, I couldn’t be more grateful for what you’ve given in this film. But I’m scared of what happens to you next.”

She continued: “Right now you are incredibly good at balancing on the barstool. But it’s really precarious, and I’m not sure how that’s going to end.”


The post Jodie Foster says she was “always shocked” by how frequently women had rape backstories in scripts appeared first on NME.


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