Saturday, October 3, 2009

THE EVOLUTION OF JODIE

For me, an actor's career trajectory is a fascinating thing. I thought I would take a moment to review the evolution of Jodie Foster's 40 year career (1969 thru 2009).

stage 1 - THE BLONDE MOPPET
Jodie starts off as a TV kid with guest shots on episodes of The Doris Day Show and Julia (and later Mayberry RFD and The Partridge Family).

Her film debut comes alongside TV's Johnny Whitaker in the family film Napolean & Samantha (1972) which explores the young love of tweens and their friendly pet lion.



She will team up with Johnny Whitaker again for the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of Tom Sawyer - the Musical (1973). She plays Becky Thatcher and makes Tom's palms sweaty.

Then we get into Jodie's next evolutionary stage:



stage 2: THE STREET WISE LOLITA

She plays a mini gangster's mini moll and vamps it up in the kiddie musical Bugsy Malone and plays the world-weary pal of Tommy Hyatt in Alice Doesn't Live Here Any More and the pre-teen prostitute in Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976) - which brings Jodie her first Oscar nomination.



stage 3: THE DISNEY TOMBOY

Jodie spends her awkward years as a Disney stringy haired teen tomboy heroine in Freaky Friday and Candleshoe. She misses out on playing Princess Leia in Stars Wars (1977) when Disney won't release her from her contract.

Next comes her fabulous era (my personal favorite) as

stage 4: FOX ON THE RUN

Jodie is a young woman coming of age in the 1980 films Foxes and Carny and returns to films (post-Hinkley drama and college) to bed Rob Lowe in The Hotel New Hampshire (1984).



stage 5: THE STRONG WOMAN'S QUID PRO QUO

Jodie Foster gets her 1st Best Actress Oscar for The Accused (1988) as a woman who testifies against the group of men who raped her at the local bar, (She auditioned for this role - it was not handed to her). Two years later she stars in the horror-thriller Silence of the Lambs (1991) and wins her 2nd Oscar as Best Actress.

stage 6: FIRST TIME FEATURE DIRECTOR for Home for the Holidays and Little Man Tate.



stage 7: THE LEADING LADY in Nell, Somersby, Maverick and Anna & The King.

stage 8: BIG BAD MAMA in Panic Room, Flightplan and The Brave One.

stage 9: RETURN TO FAMILY FILMS with Nim's Island (2008).




stage 10: WAITING IN THE WINGS

Now on the verge of her 47th birthday, I can imagine Jodie Foster at home with her partner and kids thinking : maybe I'll focus on directing -- since I really don't want to do a cable TV series yet and Meryl Streep is so hot again at 60 and getting all the best roles in films anyway.

Still, a talented award winning actress like Jodie should consider a cable TV series - where most of the best roles for women now exist. Imagine Jodie tearing into the role of NURSE JACKIE or the power attorney bitch on DAMAGES. Though, she may wish to just direct films (and feel the personal & professional satisfaction of having carved out her own career) and choose not to go back to acting on the boob tube where her journey began.
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