Jodie Foster is undertaking a media blitz at the moment promoting the new season of True Detective and her award-nominated movie, Nyad.
On Wednesday she appeared on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. He asked her about a rumor he’d heard about her being offered the role of Princess Leia in Star Wars.
Foster confirmed this to be true, saying before opting for Carrie Fisher the makers had been considering a younger actress. Foster was born in 1962 and began acting as a child. She found fame in 1976 with three very different movies: Bugsy Malone, Freaky Friday, and Taxi Driver. She received her first Academy Award nomination for the last one.
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“They were going for a younger Princess Leia but I had a conflict,” Foster said, recalling her dilemma. “I was doing a Disney movie and I just didn’t want to pull out because I was already under contract.”
“So, I didn’t do it and, you know, they did an amazing job,” she said.
“I don’t know how good I would have been. I might have had different hair, you know. I might have gone with a pineapple,” she joked. Carrie Fisher (born 1956) famously sported buns on the side of her head in the 1977 sci-fi blockbuster.
Foster was only 12 when she shot Taxi Driver. By that time, she already had over 30 acting credits to her name. By contrast, director Martin Scorcese was still a relative newcomer. Although they’d already worked together, Foster recalls the Taxi Driver crew being a little intimidated by her.
“When I first worked with Martin Scorsese I was probably about 10, I think. I did Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, and that was Marty’s, maybe, his third movie,” she told W Magazine.
“And then by the time I got to do Taxi Driver when I was 12, I had made a lot more films than they had at that point. They were definitely scared of me. They didn’t know what to do with me. I don’t know that I was the smart one in the room, but they definitely were intimidated somehow. Like ‘What do I do with this 12-year-old?’”
Foster is a rare example of a performer who has managed to turn childhood stardom into adult success in Hollywood. Although her performances have been somewhat few and far between in the last dozen years, she appears to be enjoying her life and current work schedule.
On The Today Show this week, the actress said that turning 60 had been one of “one of the best days” of her life.
“I think it’s some kind of hormone or something that got injected into my system, where suddenly the day I turned 60 was one of the best days of my life,” Foster, now 61, said.
“I don’t know, I just feel like suddenly nothing really mattered and everything’s a bonus.
“I was just happy and content, and I wasn’t competing with my old self. I had no expectations for what was happening, and I was ready for what was gonna come.”