Jodie Foster

Flightplan

Interviewed by David Michael

“ I must be drawn to the aspect that a parent would do anything to keep their child safe ”

She's the child-star made good, the woman who held her own against Hannibal and also an accomplished director to boot. And although her appearances on the big-screen have grown less frequent of late, 43-year-old Jodie Foster hasn't lost her much-envied Hollywood Midas touch. In Flightplan, her first film in three years, the double-Oscar winner plays a grieving wife whose daughter disappears aboard a transatlantic flight. Here she talks about winding up air stewardesses, picking male roles and how it feels never to be not famous.

Is it just a coincidence that after Panic Room you're again playing a mother who's struggling for the life of her daughter?

Well, it clearly must be something I'm drawn to. I'm a parent, I have two kids, I get drawn to things that move me and touch me personally. I must be drawn to the aspect that a parent would do anything to keep their child safe. And yet in this film, she realises that she can't keep her child safe. I think that's the primal fear of every parent. I don't think it's a coincidence, no.

The Flightplan script was originally written for a man. How come you read it in the first place?

I was just looking for things that were going. When I approached them and thought it was perfect to flip the gender, coincidentally the producers felt the same thing.

American air stewardesses boycotted the film, because they claim they're shown in a bad light. What was your reaction to that?

Well, everybody should say whatever they feel. It's nice to hear criticism about the movie; otherwise you don't know what you can do better in a movie. I think in a film like this, it's not really important; it's about nobody believing her. The people who don't believe her are human beings, whether they're stewardesses or not. It's also not a technical movie - I don't think it's the biggest problem in the world that stewardesses feel like they're being portrayed in a bad way.

You've made less movies recently, are you getting more picky?

I am very picky. But I've made a lot of movies in my life, and as time has gone by I've made less, but I think that happens to everybody. Now it's hard for me to get out there more than once every few years, and I don't know if it's because I can't find anything, or I'm so involved in my own life that it's hard for me to imagine leaving that life for five months.

You once said that your only regret in life was never finding out what it was like not to be famous. Is fame so bad?

I'm curious about what it would be like to have been anonymous in life, because I never was. I don't think there's anybody who was born in the public eye, whether it's the son of Jackie Onassis or Shirley Temple, who doesn't wonder what it would be like to walk into the world without baggage. Even to walk into it as an actor, to walk into portraying a character without people having memories of you as an astronaut, as well as a child, you know. It would be nice to be fresh, and for your experiences to be fresh. We're all curious about that.

Flightplan is released in UK cinemas on Friday 25th November 2005.