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Panic Room Alumni Unite! Jodie Foster Comes to the Aid of K-Stew

By / 08.15.12

Did you guys ever read that site FireJoeMorgan? It was one of my favorites, though they stopped doing it so they could create Parks and Recreation (whatever). Anyway, one of the things that site was Internet famous for was the takedown of silly articles. Lo and behold, we were presented a silly article today, so I thought I’d homage Michael Schur and the fellas at FJM by rocking a takedown.

Our subject today is Jodie Foster, writing from the heart, about her girl Kristen Stewart. Off we go.

We’ve all seen the headlines at the check-out counter. “Kristen Stewart Caught.” We’ve all thumbed the glossy pages here and there. “Kris and Rob a couple?” We all catch the snaps. “I like that dress. I hate the hair. Cute couple. Bad shoes.” There’s no guilt in acknowledging the human interest in public linens. It’s as old as the hills. Lift up beautiful young people like gods and then pull them down to earth to gaze at their seams. See, they’re just like us. But we seldom consider the childhoods we unknowingly destroy in the process.

I’m trying to think of the last time I went to the grocery story. Was it for cheese? I really like cheese. Do you have any cheese? Also, sorry about destroying everyone’s childhood! My bust!

I have been an actress since I was 3 years old, 46 years to date.

That is very sad.

I have no memories of a childhood outside the public eye. I am told people look to me as a success story.

No memories? You were never inside, even once, just jamming on some N64 (Goldeeeneeeeyyyeeee!!)? Also, in what oddball third person tense conversation are people saying “Jodie, people look to you as a success story!” And what do you say back? I’d say something like “Oh, yeah, you know how we do. Jodie ain’t scurreeeed.”

Often complete strangers approach me and ask, How have you stayed so normal, so well-adjusted, so private? I usually lie and say, “Just boring I guess.”

Well now people are going to call you on that lie. You can’t just admit you lie to everyone and then hope people aren’t going to question you about the alleged “all-night pool parties”.

The truth is, like some curious radioactive mutant, I have invented my own gothic survival tools.

I believe that was the plot of Blade 2.

I have fashioned rules to control the glaring eyes.

That’s totally the logline from the new X-Men: Cyclops spin-off!

Maybe I’ve organized my career choices to allow myself (and the ones I truly love) maximum personal dignity.

Well which is it, Foster? Maybe you have? Maybe? Have you or haven’t you? Answer me! You’re willing to die for your beliefs??

Man, I wish they’d make a Contact 2. Did you even see Matt McConaughey in that? Bro killed it.

And, yes, I have neurotically adapted to the gladiator sport of celebrity culture, the cruelty of a life lived as a moving target.

COME ON, THAT’S THE PLOT OF HANNA! This is just like that one SNL sketch where the kids keep trying to pass off Journey lyrics for their poetry assignment. STICK TO THE ASSIGNMENT, FOSTER!

In my era, through discipline and force of will, you could still manage to reach for a star-powered career and have the authenticity of a private life.

Well, life is cruel, but it’s cruel in different ways for different people. Would Jodie trade places with the fella working a double shift at 7-11 today? Also, contradiction alert, how is Jodie living a “private life” while she has no memories of being out of the “public eye”? Lastly, James Van der Beek.

But let’s get back to it …

Sure, you’d have to lose your spontaneity in the elaborate architecture.

If you added “under the sea” to the end of that sentence it was my EXACT prom theme!

You’d have to learn to submerge beneath the foul air and breathe through a straw. But at least you could stand up and say, I will not willfully participate in my own exploitation. Not anymore.

Back in my day you could take the totally disproportionate amounts of money and tell the common man to “step off” because you were “doing the hump”. But not anymore! There are bastards everywhere! Everywhere, I tell you!

Also, are we actually going to get to K-Stew at any point in this rambling essay? Because I’m kind of partial to her. She’s a good egg.

If I were a young actor or actress starting my career today in the new era of social media and its sanctioned hunting season, would I survive? Would I drown myself in drugs, sex, and parties? Would I be lost?

I don’t think you would be. Let me give you a name. Elizabeth Olsen. You know her? Probably not, but she’s the Olsen Twin’s little sister, and she was in Martha Marcy May Marlene. She’s very private, and you pretty much never read about her. Now then, if Ms. Olsen wanted to be on TMZ, she’d just have to 1) Live in L.A. 2) Go drinking with La-Lohan. That’s all it would take, and all of a sudden we’d have a new celebrity darling to click on 24/7. But she doesn’t. And she probably won’t. Because life is too short.

What I’m saying is I think you can still live a private life, because you’re young, resourceful, and rich beyond all comprehension. K-Stew is pulling down $20m per Twilight film. She could rent an island, hire a bartender, and never be heard from again. What’s that? Oh. You haven’t even mentioned K-Stew. Sorry. Please continue.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: if I were a young actor today I would quit before I started. If I had to grow up in this media culture, I don’t think I could survive it emotionally.

What would hypothetical you do instead? I’d be a farmer!

I would only hope that someone who loved me, really loved me, would put their arm around me and lead me away to safety.

You poor dear, the Syrians can totally relate with you on that one!

Sarah Tobias would never have danced before her rapists in The Accused. Clarice would never have shared the awful screaming of the lambs to Dr. Lecter. Another actress might surely have taken my place, opened her soul to create those characters, surrendered her vulnerabilities.

I think we’re being hypothetically parallel universe reverse future threatened here. And I won’t stand for it.

But would she have survived the paparazzi peering into her windows, the online harassment, the public humiliations, without overdosing in a hotel room or sticking her face with needles until she became unrecognizable even to herself?

Who sticks their face with needles? And why are we not getting pictures of THAT? I have to say Ms. Foster, this is becoming a bit … what’s the word? Self-indulgent. Just a bit.

Acting is all about communicating vulnerability, allowing the truth inside yourself to shine through regardless of whether it looks foolish or shameful. To open and give yourself completely. It is an act of freedom, love, connection. Actors long to be known in the deepest way for their subtleties of character, for their imperfections, their complexities, their instincts, their willingness to fall.

The craft of acting, so beautiful and so profound. We’re so lucky to have such brave souls walk amongst us.

The more fearless you are, the more truthful the performance. How can you do that if you know you will be personally judged, skewered, betrayed?

Weirdly, this is the same way DMV employees feel. I know, right? Small world.

If you’re smart, you learn to willfully disassociate, to compartmentalize. Putting your emotions into a safety box definitely comes in handy when the public throws stones. The point is to survive, intact or not, whatever the emotional cost. Actors who become celebrities are supposed to be grateful for the public interest. After all, they’re getting paid. Just to set the record straight, a salary for a given on-screen performance does not include the right to invade anyone’s privacy, to destroy someone’s sense of self.

Lookit, I hate TMZ. They are worthless. But yes, going pro in something, getting paid for it, comes with other baggage as well. It just does. No one forces anyone to take a role. And no one forces all celebs to live in New York and L.A. There are few tragic cases, where narcissism blends with loneliness, where we see very public meltdowns. But to blame “the public” for that is like me blaming Keanu Reeves for Johnny Utah losing that bowl game for Ohio St. It’s a faulty premise built upon a castle of lies. Know what I mean?

In 2001 I spent 5 months with Kristen Stewart on the set of Panic Room mostly holed up in a space the size of a Manhattan closet. We talked and laughed for hours, sharing spontaneous mysteries and venting our boredom. I grew to love that kid. She turned 11 during our shoot and on her birthday I organized a mariachi band to serenade her at the taco bar while she blew out her candles.

Sounds a little racist.

She begrudgingly danced around a sombrero with me but soon rushed off to a basketball game with the grip and electric departments. Her mother and I watched her jump around after the ball, hooting with every team basket.

You guys work so hard! How much emotional vulnerability was happening throughout? Were people taking pictures of this? The f*ckers!

“She doesn’t want to be an actor when she grows up, does she?” I asked. Her mom sighed. “Yes … unfortunately.” We both smiled and shrugged with an ambivalence born from experience. “Can’t you talk her out of it?” I offered. “Oh, I’ve tried. She loves it. She just loves it.” More sighs.

I sort of picture Jodie Foster going around to every young actor and trying to talk them out of their chosen profession. Then, going home, calling her agent, and cackling that “Soon, Foster will be the ONLY GAME IN TOWN!!!”

We watched her run around the court for a while, both of us silent, each thinking our own thoughts. I was pregnant at the time and found myself daydreaming of the child I might have soon. Would she be just like Kristen?

Probably not, no.

All that beautiful talent and fearlessness … would she jump and dunk and make me so proud?

Isn’t that Baylor chick the only one who can dunk? Also, “jump and dunk and makes me so proud” reminds me of this scene:

I miss Cristina Ricci. She should call me. And oh my GOD, do you realize this goes on for another three paragraphs and J-Fost has yet to say anything? At all? Can we all black out yet? I mean, what is happening when we give actors thousands of words to bloviate and pontificate on … well, I don’t even know what the topic is at this point. Sigh. Back to you, Jodie!

There’s this image I have of a perfect moment. It comes to me as a square format 8mm home movie with ’70s oversaturated reds and blues, no sound, just a scratchy loop … there’s a little white-haired girl twirling in the surf. She’s singing at the top of her lungs, jumping and spinning around in the cold water, all salty, sandy, full of joy and confidence. She’s unconscious of the camera, of course, in her own world. The camera shakes a little. Perhaps her mom’s laughing behind the lens. Could a child be more loved than in this moment? She’s perfect. She is absolutely perfect.

(Drumroll) Introducing … Fred Hyperbole, the star of this show!

Cut to: Today … A beautiful young woman strides down the sidewalk alone, head down, hands drawn into fists. She’s walking fast, darting around huge men with black cameras thrusting at her mouth and chest. “Kristen, how do you feel?” “Smile Kris!” “Hey, hey, did you get her?” “I got her. I got her!” The young woman doesn’t cry. F*ck no. She doesn’t look up. She’s learned. She keeps her head down, her shades on, fists in her pockets. Don’t speak. Don’t look. Don’t cry.

Whoooa, with the F-bombs over there. Also, you see how subtle that was? With the “black cameras thrusting at her mouth and chest”. We get it, Jodie, Kristen Stewart is put upon. Woe is her. If she were happy she’d be all “oooh, takka picture OF ME” and then drool. But she’s not like that. We’ve ruined her. I blame you, WORLD.

My mother had a saying that she doled out after every small injustice, every heartbreak, every moment of abject suffering. “This too shall pass.” God, I hated that phrase.

I think that’s either from the bible or Gone with the Wind. Either way, your mom is a f*cking plagiarist.

It always seemed so banal and out of touch, like she was telling me my pain was irrelevant. Now it just seems quaint, but oddly true … Eventually this all passes.

Right! It’s like, you’re out at Denny’s on a Friday night, and you have to take a huge beer dump, but you wanna order a “Moons over My Hammy” first, but the waitress is TAKING FOREVER, and then FINALLY she comes, and then … wait, what?

The public horrors of today eventually blow away. And, yes, you are changed by the awful wake of reckoning they leave behind. You trust less. You calculate your steps. You survive.

Same process happens with the survivors of a tiger mauling. You ever been mauled by a tiger? (shudders) It’s terrible. Wouldn’t wish that on anyone. (looks off into the distance like an ACTOR)

Hopefully in the process you don’t lose your ability to throw your arms in the air again and spin in wild abandon. That is the ultimate F.U. and—finally—the most beautiful survival tool of all. Don’t let them take that away from you.

Why would anyone want to take away your ability to have a seizure? Anyway. Keep on keepin’ on Kristen Stewart. We’ll always have New Moon.


TAGSJODIE FOSTERkristen stewartLAREMY

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