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10Jodie Foster is Still Defending Kristen Stewart

photo of jodie foster and kristen stewart pictures
So, lots of you guys have been railing against the general public for railing against Kristen Stewart and her whole part in this affair thing, and you’re not the only one—Jodie Foster, Kristen’s long-time friend and co-worker, has come out (again) in support of Kristen, and offers a very refreshing and somewhat game-changing perspective on the whole Kristen Stewart! Cheating! Scandal! and it’s definitely worthy of the whole eleven hundred-plus characters that Foster doled out in defense of her girl Kristen.

From the Daily Beast:

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 have been an actress since I was 3 years old, 46 years to date. I have no memories of a childhood outside the public eye. I am told people look to me as a success story. 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.” The truth is, like some curious radioactive mutant, I have invented my own gothic survival tools. I have fashioned rules to control the glaring eyes. Maybe I’ve organized my career choices to allow myself (and the ones I truly love) maximum personal dignity. And, yes, I have neurotically adapted to the gladiator sport of celebrity culture, the cruelty of a life lived as a moving target. 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. Sure, you’d have to lose your spontaneity in the elaborate architecture. 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. 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’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. I would only hope that someone who loved me, really loved me, would put their arm around me and lead me …

JUMP IN FOR THE REST!

… away to safety. 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. 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?

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

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

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.

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. Fuck 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.

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. 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. 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. 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.

So. Have you switched teams yet? Or have you at least gained some kind of sympathy for Kristen, if you can see it from Jodie’s perspective? Because I think … yeah, I think that we, collectively, have maybe been a little harsh on Kristen over the last few weeks, and maybe—just maybe—it’s time we laid off a little bit, huh? I think a lot of times we hold celebrities (and other people we admire, or want to be like in some way, shape, or form, however convoluted in its sense) to unrealistic expectations, and while I’m not giving Kristen a free pass for what she did, because no matter how you slice it and dice it, it’s wrong, but people …. well, people make mistakes. And I don’t think Kristen’s exempt from that now, then, or even in the future.

August 15, 2012 at 5:30 pm by Sarah

10 Responses to “Jodie Foster is Still Defending Kristen Stewart”

  1. Webster says:

    Why do you have to switch teams? There shouldn’t be teams for this one because as far as I know the guy didn’t do anything wrong. But she’s just a kid and they both, hopefully, will have long lives and have many more crappy experiences to get through, just like the rest of us.

  2. Simon Jadis says:

    I LOVE Jodie Foster.

  3. anon says:

    what a beautiful message. Good for Jodie Foster and good for Kristen Stewart for having a friend like her.

  4. blasted1 says:

    Sure wish Jodi hadn’t danced around the main point: If you do something in private, it stays private. When you do something in public AND YOU ARE FAMOUS, it goes public and people are going to talk. This has been true since the advent of celebrity. The only thing that has changed is the speed at which this info has been made available, period. I don’t see making out in public with a married guy as”…twirling in the surf…”. I’m all for letting Kristen Stewart up off the mat, but, please Ms. Foster, don’t lecture us peasants on how fragile you “artists” are; it’s insulting.

    • pufinstuf says:

      Exactly. And putting out your own statement at the beginning of the “scandal” pointing out just what you did wrong and how egregious it is does not help either.

  5. Alensky says:

    While I don’t condone any form of cheating, I must admit that the media and even some of the people had been a little bit too harsh to kstew. She was, after all, a human being, capable of making mistakes, learning from it and in time, moving on from it. Everyone can make mistakes but it’s the choices we make that defines us. It could be that she (obviously) didn’t think too wisely on what the consequences of having an affair will to do her or the family of the guy he had an affair with, and that makes her a “monster” in our eyes, a slut, a home wrecker. And that’s it, we have to live it be, move on because it’s not our problem anyway, no need for too much name-calling, the incessant judging. It’s in our nature to practice crab mentality especially to celebrities, we pull them down to make us feel that they are nothing special from us. They are afterall normal people like us, but what we don’t remember is that they also hurt like us because afterall, they are also humans like us. So yeah, while it’s fairly obvious that she made a terrible decision, it’s high time that we let go and move on from this too.

  6. puddin says:

    I didn’t know Jodie Foster was such a strong writer. I’m impressed. Usually Hollywood types kind of pick at a keyboard like thirteen year old girls.

  7. Kim says:

    In real life, if you are banging the neighbor’s husband and get caught, people talk and you get a reputation as a husband stealing home wrecker too. That’s how that situation pans out. It doesn’t matter if you’re famous or normal. You play, you pay.

  8. Kimmie says:

    Maybe she has learned a lesson and will make sure not to get caught if she does it again. Poor girl sounds like she banged every director/producer she had because ‘they were in a position of power over her’. Maybe Jodie can address that. I hear it’s common in Hollywood

  9. nanette briggs says:

    Jodie looks like she has a peach pit in each of her cheeks.

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