Robert Downey Jr. and Jodie Foster in ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Oppenheimer’

Jodie Foster and Robert Downey Jr. have a long history. Their careers intersected over time, beginning when Foster directed Downey in his 1995 Thanksgiving comedy “Home for the Holidays,” where he played the family’s sweet-natured but rebellious black sheep. Most recently, both were nominated in supporting categories at this year’s Oscars — Foster was nominated for her role as an encouraging swimming coach in “Nyad” and Downey won for playing a villainous government official in ” Oppenheimer” – and played a key role in HBO. limited series. Foster was a hardened cop in “True Detective: Night Country,” writer-director Issa López’s reimagining of the detective franchise centered on Alaska Native communities. Downey played four roles – a CIA agent, a university professor, a congressman and an independent filmmaker, each representing a facet of the American power structure – in Korean director Park Chan-wook’s adaptation of the post-Vietnam War novel “The Sympathizer.”

Robert Downey Jr. and Jodie Foster in ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Oppenheimer’

Mary Ellen Matthews for Variety

ROBERT DOWNEY JR.: My first question for you: When Dylan McDermott and I misbehaved during the rehearsal process (of “Home for the Holidays”), you became momentarily angry, because we were so out of control that it was more stronger than the repetition itself. Do you remember putting us under control?

JODIE FOSTER: I don’t know. But I used to work with children, so it’s something I do well. I tell them: “If you move, I’m going to step on your foot very hard. »

DONEY: That’s part of the problem – and the great opportunity – of starting so young. We are preconditioned to follow direction. Not necessarily to do what we’re told, but yes, we follow the guidelines.

TO FAVOR: I think it’s a gift to have started young – and abusive…

DONEY: I love the abuse part.

TO FAVOR: …rolled into one.

DONEY: I remember the unique experience I had with you as a director. I didn’t get any screen time with you. And “Home for the Holidays” has become one of those movies that everyone watches at Thanksgiving. Maybe you had a feeling it would be something so many people would relate to.

TO FAVOR: I was almost 30 at the time and had ambivalent feelings about Thanksgiving. It was a little too intimate. I was stuck in a room with a group of people who hadn’t chosen to be there – we were just born together. Very often, terrible and racist things arise and there is nowhere to go. It’s part of your DNA and somehow you love them, but you also can’t stand to be in the same room with them.

DONEY: At one point (in the movie) I flipped the whole turkey. And it hits the only person who is truly miserable.

TO FAVOR: We had to squirt as much juice into the turkey’s cavity as possible, so that when it fell on her it was an avalanche of disgust.

DONEY: It was one of my favorite scenes I’ve ever done.

TO FAVOR: Everything is perfect thanks to you. You have a big mouth and a crazy spirit that loves the freedom of being in the moment, which is not who I am, but who I wish to be: someone free like you.

DONEY: I was pretty crazy during the whole shoot, but I remember it being one of the most relaxed shows in cinema history.

TO FAVOR: What I was thinking about when I thought about going to meet you is that we started from the same place, as child actors, but we have opposite trajectories. You came to the table with this freedom, and you didn’t necessarily give up discipline for several years. Then, over time, in your own martial artist way, you became this extraordinarily disciplined person who always has fun and joy.

DONEY: You wrote me a letter once. You talked about Chaplin and his precision. And it turns out it was one of the most prophetic things. You have had such an impact on me.

TO FAVOR: I started out like, “You just do what people say, and you just follow this path, and these are the goals that I have, and these are the things that I want to do.” And I really realized as I got older that as helpful as that was for my career, it wasn’t free. As I got older, I learned to be more free rather than disciplined.

Robert Downey Jr. Variety Actors About Actors

Mary Ellen Matthews for Variety

DONEY: Well, it’s obvious. In “Night Country,” there’s so much precision. And yet, I saw you give yourself the freedom to play a character that I don’t see any of you in. And that you chose this project is just bananas to me. And with Issa López.

TO FAVOR: Well, hopefully the world is growing and moving in the right direction. We get better instead of worse and we become more aware. That’s what I hope anyway. And what you hope with films is that you help create an atmosphere where people can challenge themselves. And very often now, when I’m between 50 and 60 years old, I ask myself the question: “Why doesn’t this guy talk?” Why are you talking?” That’s also true with “The Sympathizer”: it’s really important to reframe and refocus who’s speaking and who’s telling the story. Vietnam, for example: “The Sympathizer” is really about that era .And I was there at that time. You weren’t really there at the time, but I was there at that time.

DONEY: It was the event that most marked my formative years.

TO FAVOR: I was young, but there was this conflict of whether you should side with your country? And were we on the right side? Would we regret it? And what would History say? And Park Chan-wook – it’s so visually stunning.

DONEY: Director Park had a very strong vision on the issue. He asked me if I wanted to play all white. Finally, he tells the story from the perspective of what the Vietnamese called: “the American War.” When you sat down with Issa López, from the moment you had your first meeting with her, what was that like?

TO FAVOR: She had such an exciting voice. And the second I met her, I knew this was the vision we needed. She is totally clear about what she wants. And she’s the first person on the dance floor, which I love. We became close friends. I think she’s my favorite director that I’ve worked with, and I’ve worked with a lot of great guys.

DONEY: You took a big step in saying, “Let’s make this character a challenge to empathize with.” » But you win us back.

TO FAVOR: That’s the beauty of having limited series. You can develop a story. I was thinking about “Killers of the Flower Moon” – an extraordinary three and a half hour film. And I was like, “I wonder why they didn’t do it for eight hours” – to be able to explore all these other people and give them another perspective. The great thing about limited series is that you can have this romantic idea of ​​going off on tangents and tying them together.

DONEY: You have a very high capacity for suffering once you commit to something. But the crazy thing is, I kept hearing, “Jodie loves being in Iceland.”

Jodie Foster Variety Actors on Actors

Mary Ellen Matthews for Variety

TO FAVOR: There is live music everywhere. The food is delicious. They have geothermal baths everywhere. Instead of going to the pub, you go to the baths. But 58 nights outside in sub-zero temperatures is tough. You have the clothes and the small heated towels. I had heating pads in my hat. However, you still have to breathe.

DONEY: Because it’s so cold, it feels like your teeth are going to crack.

TO FAVOR: So you need to do exercises where you breathe into your hands to prepare your lungs for the fact that you are going to face this cold winter. When you embark on a limited series, you immerse yourself in the culture. And if you do it right, it influences everything you do. With Issa, the only thing she knew was that she wanted it to be in the Arctic Circle. The second she started researching, it all came together because 85% of people living beyond the Arctic Circle are Indigenous. In “The Sympathizer,” what’s great is you have the Vietnamese point of view and the point of view of the first generation people coming (to the United States). The complexity of this was observed so well by Park Chan-wook, who is not from America.

DONEY: Like Vietnam, Korea is still divided. So he said he never felt like there had been a story that he could relate to more.

TO FAVOR: Did you imagine your four characters together?

DONEY: I just came from “Oppenheimer,” I was like, “I just want to play.” I wanted the four characters to be a bit two-dimensional. The Congressman was probably my favorite, because he was every mid-century politician.

TO FAVOR: Shiny teeth and that perfect little combo.

DONEY: And these huge elevators, so I was always taller than everyone. And for the author, I was thinking of Polanski.

TO FAVOR: When you have four characters in one scene, how does that work? It’s very technical.

DONEY: (Production said:) “We have to shoot this in two days, and we have to make sure Downey doesn’t go crazy and we don’t lose the pixie dust.” I shot Claude (the CIA agent) in the morning, the deputy in the afternoon. The next day I came back, I filmed the professor in the morning and the author in the afternoon. I’ll tell you this: You look at the program and you say, “These two days are what I’m afraid of.” » What part of the “Night Country” show did you always have circling, like “It’s going to be hell”?


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News Source : variety.com

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