Jodie Foster, left, and Kristen Stewart in the 2002 film "Panic Room." (Columbia Pictures )
Jodie Foster has added her own headline to the Kristen Stewart cheating scandal — though she might cringe at having her words framed that way.
By way of slamming the intense media scrutiny of Stewart recently, Foster, writing a lengthy piece for the Daily Beast, recalls her own childhood growing up as an actor and then contrasts it with what young performers go through these days.
"Lift up beautiful young people like gods and then pull them down to earth to gaze at their seams. See, they're just like us," she writes, acknowledging this is nothing new. "But we seldom consider the childhoods we unknowingly destroy in the process."
Foster says that if she were coming up as an actor today, she likely would have quit before she started.
"If I had to grow up in this media culture, I don’t think I could survive it emotionally. I would only hope that someone who loved me, really loved me, would put their arm around me and lead me away to safety."
Foster describes her time cooped up with Stewart in that "Panic Room" — "I grew to love that kid" — when the"Silence of the Lambs"star wondered whether the girl wanted to grow up to be an actor and whether her mom could talk her out of it so she wouldn't have to adapt her life to cope with "the gladiator sport of celebrity culture, the cruelty of a life lived as a moving target."
Yet adapt Stewart has, in a way Foster describes in a scene she conjures after describing with her own vision of a "perfect" childhood moment, one in which a girl is playing freely on a sunny beach, unaware of a loving eye that is looking on.
"Cut to: Today … A beautiful young woman strides down the sidewalk alone, head down, hands drawn into fists," Foster writes. "She’s walking fast, darting around huge men with black cameras thrusting at her mouth and chest. 'Kristen, how do you feel?' 'Smile Kris!' 'Hey, hey, did you get her?' 'I got her. I got her!' The young woman doesn’t cry. ... She doesn’t look up. She’s learned. She keeps her head down, her shades on, fists in her pockets. Don’t speak. Don’t look. Don’t cry."
The salary for a performance "does not include the right to invade anyone’s privacy, to destroy someone’s sense of self," Foster points out, noting as well the uncomforting truth in the phrase "This too shall pass."
She closes with an indirect wish to Stewart that she not allow "them" to take from her that perfect moment in the sun.
One question the piece doesn't address is at what age childhood ends. Stewart may have been 10 and 11 when she filmed "Panic Room," but she was 18 when the first "Twilight" film opened and 22 when she had her "momentary indiscretion" with director Rupert Sanders.
What do you think of Foster's take on the situation?
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