Old article but I love to read/listen to this woman think. Yes Ms. Foster, I would love to hear your analysis of every movie made. I love your acting but I love your intellect even more. I just wish you would share it more often.
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Mort and Foster also reworked the relationship between Erica and Mercer, the NYPD detective investigating the attack on Erica and her fiancé as well as the case of the mysterious vigilante. “That was a big change too,” she says. “It was more of a cat-and-mouse detective thing before. It was clearly Cynthia’s leaning to create a more complex relationship between the two of them. There’s an intimacy, I think, and a recognition that’s very profound. I love those movies where the central relationship is not the romantic link in the film. It’s something deeper and bigger than that.”
The Brave One, says Foster, is “a movie with a literary quality to it,” a quality that she loves. Erica, she thoughtfully suggests, is a classic figure on an existential journey. “Here’s somebody who’s already shut off even before the movie started — somebody who says, ‘I’m just a voice, but I’m not a body, and I’m not a face.’ And this man she’s engaged to, who plays basketball and doesn’t shave and is a nurse — all those things that are very corporeal and real — he’s the body that she doesn’t have. And when he leaves her, she in some ways becomes a ghost. She has no body, and she becomes this sort of formless spirit walking through the night. And when she takes the gun, the gun materializes her — just for that split second. It allows her to re-create an event, and say, but now I’m going to change how it ends.
“It’s a breath, a breath of life. And as monstrous as that is, there’s something so essentially human about what she’s discovered.”
It’s an impressive exegesis on both the film and her character, that speech; I wonder how many times she’s given it. And I wonder how many characters she’s crafted similar speeches for. Foster laughs when I compliment her on it. “Everybody does their thing,” she says. “I didn’t go to drama school. I didn’t go to Juilliard. So there’s like a whole series of vocabulary words I don’t have, and I’m sure that had I gone to one of those places, I would have some other methodology to do what I do.
“I think as the years go on, you figure out what it is that moves you. And what I’ve realized moves me, what allows me to be able to be real and evocative onscreen, is to be able to see the movie as literature. I look for that really moving, shameful secret that great paintings have, that great music has. That thing you can’t put your finger on that’s just kind of nasty and true and human. The thing that reminds us that inside of all of us there is this monstrous thirst for that kind of power over other people.”
Foster sees The Brave One as ultimately “terribly, terribly sad. I think you should leave feeling sad. You should leave feeling sad that in that split second where she could have killed herself, like women do” — as the detective Mercer says, “They shoot themselves in the heart” — “she says, ‘I want to live.’ ” The problem, of course, is that it isn’t sad, because we want Erica to live too.
Aside from that, The Brave One will no doubt make audiences uncomfortable simply because it’s a tiny blond woman who’s taking out the criminals. Not a cop. Not Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not Charles Bronson. As co-star Howard bluntly puts it, “American audiences cheer Charles Bronson on to doing this kind of thing, because they want to see the cowboy save the day. But they want the little blond girl to say, ‘Please come save me.’
“I think,” he adds cautiously, “after watching this film, the kids who want to take advantage of women when they commit crimes might slow down a bit. You don’t know what that woman has in her purse.”
“I have this image of myself,” Foster says, “where I — I think I’d just had the baby — and I’m talking to someone through the door, and the dog gets out. The dog’s on another dog, and I know better than to get in the middle of the thing, and I’ve just had the baby, so I pee — I pee in my pants — and I figure if I throw myself on the ground and drag the hind legs out from under the dog, I can get her. I’m on the ground and I’ve peed all over myself — and the paparazzi truck comes by, so I try to get back in the house, but — I’m locked out! So I put the dog in the house and I’m talking to the lady about what happened. I’m locked out of the house and no one will let me in. I drag my ass over to the window and everybody’s like playing Monopoly or whatever. And they’re like, ‘Oh, hi, Mom.’ And the dog is totally asleep. Snoring. It’s just like nobody has any idea what you go through.”