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Acting comes from your stomach and you never know whether it's going to be good or not... She's received praise for her latest directorial effort Money Monster, but Jodie Foster doesn't want to stand out from the crowd. She tells GEMMA DUNN why she hopes to see far more female film-makers in mainstream Hollywood.

Byline: GEMMA DUNN

Sreputation as one of the most critically acclaimed actresses of her generation, but Jodie Foster's recipe for Hollywood success is a simple one.

"I just keep moving forward," the 53-year-old muses, lingering over the question of a career highlight.

"I don't do a lot of looking back, but every once in a while you have a retrospective or a lifetime achievement award. I was on a panel recently with everybody from Taxi Driver, and you realise, 'Oh wow, we did something', and that was a long time ago."

It was - 1976 in fact - and the Martin Scorsese movie, which saw Jodie star as a teenage prostitute, was widely considered her breakthrough role. Generally though, her sights are set on the future: "I want to be filled with joy, and that leads me to brand new things," she adds.

Matching a chic monochrome patterned blouse with black tailored trousers, an elegant Jodie is ready to talk business - but only after one more sip of coffee.

"Do you mind?" she asks selflessly, before kicking us off with a clapped: "Right!" While she's long been invested in maintaining her privacy (the actress shares two sons with her ex-partner Cydney Bernard), she's open and incredibly warm when it comes to discussing her work life. And there's much to cover.

Since landing a gig as 'the Coppertone girl' in a TV commercial at just three years old, Jodie has gone on to appear in more than 40 films, including 1974's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore and Academy Award-winning performances as a rape survivor in The Accused and as FBI agent Clarice Starling in hit thriller The Silence Of The Lambs.

But the buck doesn't stop at acting. Following a lifelong ambition to direct, the LA-born star has skipped behind the lens too.

Her latest directorial venture, real-time high-stakes thriller Money Monster, re-teams stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts as financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty Fenn, who are put in an extreme situation when Kyle Budwell (Jack O'Connell), an irate investor who has lost everything, forcefully takes over their studio.

During a tense stand-off, broadcast to millions on live TV, Lee (an all-singing, all-dancing stock picker) and Patty must work furiously against the clock to unravel the mystery behind a conspiracy at the heart of today's fast-paced, high-tech global markets.

Of its pressure-cooker feel, Jodie explains: "This film is a mix of different things. There are a lot of layers and it's a very unusual tone, mixing comedy and drama to create an incredibly intense thriller... very fast-paced, very verbal, and yet it's also a small, personal story as well.

"Then you have the backdrop of the financial world, and the world of high-speed technology and the world of broadcast. Crazy American broadcast journalism.

"You mix those three things together and it's quite dangerous - and it's a dangerous, weird, modern, relevant world that we live in."

Jack is committed have ever with.

Part of achieving the intensity, Jodie cites, was clever casting - especially when it came to the desperation of Jack O'Connell's character.

Jodie Foster on actor Jack O'Connell "Jack is the most committed actor I have ever worked with. Ever!" she boasts of the 25-year-old Unbroken star's dedication to his craft. "It's exhausting just watching him. He gave so much."

Can she relate to his fearlessness, having joined the Tinseltown merry-goround at an early age? "I wish I approached acting that way when I was young, with such incredible commitment and passion," she responds, beaming.

"You're always a little scared when you're acting, because you never know whether it's going to work or not. It's not like another job; it's not like you're at Starbucks and it's a clear foam or no foam. Acting is imprecise, it comes from your stomach and you never know if it's going to be good or not.

"We always have that level of fear, and then living up to the challenge of that fear."

For big-screen royalty, modesty doesn't always come with the territory - yet Jodie is in no way self-serving.

Opening up to Variety magazine recently about why she waited until this May to accept the honour of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she confessed: "I made this conscious decision that I didn't want to have a star on Hollywood Boulevard unless it was in conjunction with a movie I was directing."

And it seems Money Monster was the game-changer, something she also attended this year's Cannes Film Festival with, and gained the opportunity to discuss the role of women in the industry - in particular the lack of female directors.

"It's good that there's discussion," she says of using her profile to address the issue. "Specifically directing in mainstream Hollywood movies, because there's been no discussion of it before, and I've been working for 50 years.

"Things have changed quite a bit.

the most actor I worked Ever!

"It's changed a lot in TV, it's changed a lot in Europe, and it's changed in the independent arena.

Money Monster "It's the mainstream distributing arena where there are very few women directors."

And while her joy at the film receiving a Cannes' standing ovation is apparent, she remains clear that the real reward is actually getting the movie off the ground.

"A lot of my friends who make films, I call them on the Thursday night before the Friday that it opens and I say to them, 'Congratulations, you made a movie!', because that's really the feat.

"How the film does financially and whether people go to see it, I'm not in control of that.

"If I started thinking about that, I would make some really bad directorial choices, so I try to put it aside," Jodie reasons.

"I am very pleased that this movie seems to be successful, mostly because it means that it's touched people, and that's what you're here for."

| Money Monster opens in UK cinemas on Friday.

Jodie Foster, second left, with Julia Roberts, George Clooney and Jack O'Connell during a photo call for Money Monster at Cannes Film Festival

Jack is the most committed actor I have ever worked with. Ever! Jodie Foster on Money Monster actor Jack O'Connell

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Jodie Foster takes on directing duties in new movie, Money Monster

George Clooney as stock picker and financial TV show host Lee Gates
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 27, 2016
Words:1060
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