|Photo courtesy of the Sun Valley Film Festival|
In their sophomore edition, the Sun Valley Film Festival (SVFF) scored a major coup in bringing Jodie Foster to Idaho for one of their free-to-the-public morning Coffee Talks. Having just been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Globes® earlier this year, Foster leant celebrity credence to SVFF's efforts to build itself as a competitive destination film festival. She is, without question in my mind, a first-rate human being whose generosity and forthrightness as a creative individual and a citizen of the world added prestige and, indeed, a spectacular dimension to the 2013 Sun Valley Film Festival. What follows is the one question I asked her during her conversation with her SVFF audience at the nexStage. That richer more extended conversation will be published elsewhere; but, for now, I offer this teaser.
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Michael Guillén: First of all, I sincerely want to thank you for helping the Sun Valley Film Festival further film exhibition within the state of Idaho. My question for you concerns your epiphanous performance in A Very Long Engagement (2004) where you spoke in French, which fascinated me. I wanted to know if you could speak to what that process was like for you as an actor to ground your performance in a language that is not your original language?
Jodie Foster: Well, I did start speaking French when I was 9. I was fluent by the time I was 10, maybe. So it's my second language, though not my first language, and I'm aware of that. I make mistakes from time to time but it is a language within which I have a persona. It's a different persona than I have in "real" life.
It's such a fun experience and so challenging to act in a different language and to find that side of yourself in a different language. I was so grateful that Jean-Pierre Jeunet decided to take me on. He hired me to play a part that no one in the world in America would ever hire me to play. Because he's French, and because I have a different persona in French, he wasn't worried about it.
There's a certain freedom that I have in the French language that I don't have in the English language. My speech pattern is different. I went to French school and I learned from all of these women that have a higher voice than I have, so my voice in French is a much higher voice. I don't speak in such a staccato way. Yeah, I'm a different person actually.
Guillén: Thank you.