Actress Jodie Foster has pulled out as president of the jury at this year's Cannes Film Festival, citing a clash with her filming commitments, organizers said Sunday.
Foster said director David Fincher, known for his stylish and menacing films "Seven" and "Fight Club," had asked her at short notice to replace fellow actress Nicole Kidman, who was forced by a knee injury to pull out of Fincher's new project, "The Panic Room."
Studio executives were eager to find a new lead before threatened strikes by writers and actors, which they fear could bring Hollywood productions to a standstill over the summer.
"Since shooting continues in May, Jodie has asked us to postpone her presidency to another year," festival chief Gilles Jacob said in a statement. The festival runs from May 9 to 20.
"The embarrassment and regret she has expressed match the level of our disappointment, but everybody understands that for an actress, her work comes before anything else."
The 38-year-old star, who was educated at a French school in Los Angeles, is hugely popular in France and has appeared in a number of local films.
She won the top prize at Cannes, the Golden Palm, in 1976 for the role of Iris, the drug-addicted child prostitute in "Taxi Driver."
Foster was quoted in the statement as saying she was "mortified" at letting down festival organizers. The actress previously said she had dreamed of heading the festival jury since she was a child.
"I hope with all my heart that it is only a postponement and that, if the festival honors me with another request, I will one day become president of a festival to which I owe so much, and this time for good!"