A Taste of Paradis: Jodie Foster, in Conversation with Andy Warhol
Over its 258-year history, Hennessy has pioneered and elevated the art of cognac, a spirit fit for kings and queens. Interview hasn’t been around quite as long – just 54 years – but we like to think we, too, have curated conversations and photography that aspire to a similar level of elegance and sophistication. In honor of Hennessy’s storied Paradis marque, we poured through the Interview archives to recirculate conversations with personalities, entertainers, and icons who personify the brand’s spirit of refinement, grandeur, and artistry. Today, we revisit the June 1980 issue, in which a then-teenage Jodie Foster sat down with our founder Andy Warhol to discuss superstardom and going to college.
THURSDAY, APRIL 10, 1980, 6:00 p.m.
JODIE FOSTER, superstarlet, and her manager-mom BRANDY have arrived at the Factory after an Interview photo session. They are greeted by ANDY WARHOL, BOB COLACELLO, and SONY. The interview then proceeds at the brand-new CHARLES COWLES GALLERY, 420 West Broadway, and on to dinner at 65 IRVING PLACE.
For the record, Jodie, 17, has made 16 movies starting in 1972: NAPOLEON AND SAMANTHA, MENACE ON THE MOUNTAIN, KANSAS CITY BOMBER, ONE LITTLE INDIAN, TOM SAWYER, ALICE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE, TAXI DRIVER, ECHOES OF SUMMER, BUGSY MALONE, THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE, FREAKY FRIDAY, CANDLESHOE, THE BEACH, MY BLUE FLOWER, FOXES and CARNY.
Since this interview, Jodie has been accepted at HARVARD and YALE, and has chosen the latter.
AT THE FACTORY
BRANDY FOSTER: Is that makeup itching, Jodie?
JODIE FOSTER: Yes. I can’t wait till I get home.
AW: Don’t you wear makeup when you do movies?
JODIE: Yes, but I wash it off right away.
AW: I thought Foxes was so great. Gerry Ayers (co-producer/writer of Foxes) is a friend of ours.
BRANDY: He’s developing a story for Jodie. He called me the other day and he’s so excited about it. I told him the thing that people have missed about Jodie is that she has an unbelievable sense of timing for comedy. That’s the one thing that nobody ever thinks about her doing. She was wonderful in Bugsy Malone. I’ve often wondered why somebody doesn’t think of her almost like Carole Lombard. She has that same kind of timing.
The Last Detail
The Tin Drum
BOB COLACELLO: Do you go to a lot of movies?
JODIE: Yes. That’s all I do.
BOB: Did you hear about Garbo going to see Diana Vreeland?
AW: You told me.
BOB: Diana asked Sam (Green) what Garbo thought of it all and she said that she wants her apartment to look like Diana’s. She wants everything red now.
JODIE: I love red.
BOB: She wanted to know how old Diana was and how she does it—what her beauty and energy secrets are.
JODIE: Diana Vreeland is an incredible woman.
BRANDY: We’re going to see Twyla Tharp tomorrow night. I love this place. I’d live in it if I had it.
BOB: You wouldn’t live on Union Square.
BRANDY: I’m looking at a loft in downtown Los Angeles.
JODIE: The Village is nice. And I like Central Park West. It’s nice to be on a park and have greenery outside.
BRANDY: I would give my eye teeth for Ward Bennett’s apartment in the Dakota.
BOB: I would like to see what John (Lennon) and Yoko have done to their apartment.
JODIE: They’re playing monopoly with that place.
BOB: I heard that Yoko took an apartment just for her furs. Nobody knows where she’s wearing these fur coats because she never goes out. She had Fendi Furs send specialists up to take care of the heating and cooling. And they have the whole thing climate controlled, professionally, for fur.
JODIE: I could never have a fur. It’s too much of a responsibility hanging it up. It’s like having a child.
BOB: You can’t check it.
JODIE: It’s like having an expensive car and you have to park it. I couldn’t do it.
BOB: If you were living in New York when it’s really cold you wouldn’t mind a sable.
JODIE: Mom’s sable is gorgeous.
BRANDY: Every time I try to take it out of storage the woman says, “My God, this coat is gorgeous.”
BOB: It’s cold in Paris in the winter.
JODIE: Especially on the Ile St. Louis, where we live, because the wind comes right off the river and it sweeps around.
BOB: What’s your favorite food?
JODIE: Japanese and Mexican.
Paul Getty Jr.
Cedars of Lebanon Hospital
Los Angeles County Museum
JODIE: I think there’s a great fault in the Soviet Union and the United States. The whole population has absolutely no concept of what we represent to the rest of the world. They have no idea of what we are as a nation.
BOB: Do you think most people see us as being rather evil?
JODIE: Yes. And it’s too bad because the country is so large. Everybody is so frustrated and they don’t know really why. They’re not educated enough to know why. Why only with Americans could a Jonestown happen? Why are there five and seven-year-olds being kidnapped? There are really sick things going on. People don’t know why they’re reacting this way. It doesn’t happen in other places.
BRANDY: Look what we had in southern California last week; a 16-year-old sold her cousin to a child molester for $250. There are so many sick people.
BOB: If you go to Mexico or Morocco they offer you their brothers and sisters left and right for two dollars.
IN THE CREAM LIMOUSINE
JODIE: I love New York; it’s an incredible town. There’s so much here. But I love San Francisco. I was accepted at Berkeley and Stanford, Columbia, and Princeton.
BRANDY: But she’s waiting for Harvard and Yale.
BOB: What do you want to study?
JODIE: Probably writing.
BOB: One of our best friends goes to Harvard and he’s about the nicest guy you’ve ever known—John Samuels IV.
AW: He’s trying to be a movie star, too.
BOB: Jodie’s not trying.
AW: You have to keep trying.
BRANDY: Wait till you see Jodie in Carny—in her stripper outfit. I couldn’t believe it.
BOB: What’s Carny about?
JODIE: It’s about a bozo and his manager and their special relationship. I’m a waitress and I decide to run away with them and try to separate them. I try to ruin their relationship.
BOB: And Carny is the name of a character?
JODIE: No. That’s what you call somebody who works in a carnival.
BRANDY: It’s a special kind of mentality.
JODIE: It’s like the Hell’s Angels, it’s a different cult.
BRANDY: Even the sideshow freaks were so nice. The ape lady was sold to Barnum & Bailey when she was two-years-old.
AW: By her 16-year-old cousin?
JODIE: No, not quite.
AW: Are you still dating that cute little sailor you met in Europe?
JODIE: No. I don’t date anyone. I just love being 17. I go out with people once and I have a terrific time and then I come home and it’s fantastic.
AW: Where did we meet? We met in some strange little place.
JODIE: At the Deauville Film Festival, remember?
BOB: Andy has no memory. Oh! There’s Art et Industrie. That place has fabulous furniture.
BRANDY: We’ve ordered a table that walks.
JODIE: We’ve really decided that’s what I want to do. I don’t really like clothes and big cars. I like art pieces. I love rare books. I really think we have an eye for it.
AT CHARLES COWLES GALLERY
AW: This is a brand new gallery.
CHARLES COWLES: Welcome, Andy. I’m glad you’re here.
AW: Do you want to meet Jodie Foster?
CHARLES: I’d love to. Hi, Jodie. Very pleased you’re here.
AW: Jodie, do you want to meet the number one model? Joe MacDonald, do you want to meet the number one movie star?
JOE MACDONALD: Hello, Jodie. Nice to meet you. You’re much prettier in person.
JODIE: Thank you.
JOE: You were a little girl when I saw you in the movies. Now you’re a woman.
JODIE: Oh, I don’t know about that. Hope not. (Looking at Mark Boyle’s art) I’m like a little kid when it comes to art. I see every movie that comes out but art is something else. I hate going into bookstores because I want to have read everything.
AW: Here’s the boy I was telling you about, John Samuels. John, we want to introduce you to Jodie Foster.
JOHN SAMUELS: How are you? Pleased to meet you.
AW: She might be going to Harvard so you better take care of her.
JODIE: You go to Harvard?
JOHN: Yes, I’m there right now.
JODIE: Do you like it?
JOHN: It’s great. I only have classes Monday till Wednesday so I’m able to come down to New York.
JODIE: The only thing I was worried about at Harvard is you take your test after vacation.
JOHN: Oh yes, they have reading period. Right now is reading period. You should go; it’s really a flexible school. That’s the best thing about it. I’m a fine arts major so l can do anything I want really—like study this guy’s work.
AW: John produced our Broadway show when he was twelve.
JOHN: Yes, I produced the show—biggest flop ever—the worst show in the last ten years. So Andy, how are you doing?
AW: Fine. You never call me anymore.
JOHN: I just got in. Jodie, when are you going to go to Harvard? Next year?
JODIE: I don’t know yet. I haven’t been accepted yet.
JOHN: You’ll get accepted. Harvard likes a diversity in people. They have a course on Andy at Harvard?
JODIE: They really have a course on you?
JOHN: It’s called the Degradation of Art in the Twentieth Century. “Commercialism” is what it’s called.
AW: My camera is full of your pictures.
LEO CASTELLI: Hello, Andy. Who is this lovely young girl?
AW: This is Jodie Foster. She’s interested in art.
LEO: I know who Jodie Foster is. It’s nice to meet you.
AW: Here’s Dagney Corcoran. You were at her father’s house in California.
DAGNEY CORCORAN: Hi, Jodie. How are you?
AW: Dagney, how long are you going to be here?
DAGNEY: Until Saturday. I’m going back to go to the Academy Awards with George Cukor. Is that the best?
AW: Gee, how exciting! Jodie, I want you to meet a really good friend of mine. This is Mark Lancaster.
MARK LANCASTER: Hi, Jodie.
AW: Mark, maybe you could go around the gallery with Jodie and tell her what the art is about.
MARK: I’m from England which is where this art comes from. Doesn’t he look like England? You must have been to England.
JODIE: Yes, I spent a lot of time in England.
MARK: That doesn’t look like a sidewalk in New York, does it?
JODIE: It really doesn’t look like England but it looks like what the English people think of England. I find all these things so fascinating. When I was little, my mother always took us to every museum. I never appreciated anything. And now you draw back on it years later.
MARK: Which museums did you go to?
JODIE: I went to the Tate Museum in London a lot.
BROOKE HAYWARD: Hi Andy, how are you?
AW: Jodie, this is Brooke Hayward.
BROOKE: Jodie, I’m a big fan of yours.
JODIE: Thank you very much.
MARK: I haven’t seen your new movie.
They say it’s a big hit in the suburbs.
JODIE: That’s what they say. I’m glad it’s doing very well. I had a good time making it.
MARK: I liked Taxi Driver.
JODIE: Taxi Driver was a pretty special movie.
MARK: Are you going to make a film with Andy?
JODIE: He hasn’t asked me. The art world is really very fascinating to me.
MARK: I think we all think that your world is fascinating. Then people from the movies always think the art world is fascinating. It is fascinating but it’s a bit dumb. Look at what everyone is doing. All they do is stand around and drink with their backs to the wall.
JODIE: It’s a good thing I don’t drink. What attracts me to the art world is there seems to be so much enthusiasm—in all the art mediums, whether it’s film, television. People are excited about something and they’re talking quickly. With corporations, it’s all very nice and there has to be corporate people but I get tired of—
MARK: Andy is a corporate person.
AW: I’m not anymore. You’re not a corporation are you?
JODIE: I have no idea. Mom bothers with that end of it. I’m not a corporation, am I?
BRANDY: She was.
AW: I was, too.
MARK: It’s smart to be one and then not be one.
AW: I’m going to get a drink; my throat is so sore from talking.
JODIE: John Samuels is very attractive.
AW: I’ve known him since he was a baby. I’ll teach you to paint in ten easy lessons.
JODIE: Do you think I could do that?
BRANDY: The idea is to do it before someone else does it.
BOB: John Samuels just got his first movie.
BRANDY: You don’t get to see many people like that in California. He really is darling. But I feel sorry for any young man that is that handsome.
BOB: I don’t.
BRANDY: I think it’s devastating to have to worry all the time about the way you look, 24 hours a day.
JODIE: I never worry.
AW: Listen, you look great. You lost weight and you look terrific.
JODIE: Thank you.
BRANDY: She’s lost her baby fat.
BOB: How come you’re keeping the makeup on? I thought it was bad for your skin.
JODIE: This is Clinique.
AW: Janet Sartin is very good, too. She’s on Park Avenue next door to Regine’s.
JODIE: I’ve never been to Regine’s. They wouldn’t let me in anyway. I went to La Costa on the company and I’ve never felt so guilty in my life. For the first time in my life I had an herbal wrap and a massage. It was great.
AW: You should have a massage every day for the rest of your life. It keeps you alive. Diana Vreeland had massages forever. It just keeps your blood going. I’m too embarrassed to have one. I used to have it done and then I got shot. It disfigured me. Do you want to see my corset?
JODIE: That’s neat. How come?
AW: I can’t look at myself with all the scars.
JODIE: You have scars?
BRANDY: She doesn’t know.
AW: This girl shot me. You can read about it in my new book, Popism. We’ll give you a copy.
JODIE: What a devastating experience that must have been.
AW: No, I wish I had died. It would have been great.
BOB: Another one of Andy’s lines. You can die Andy, just take a bunch of pills.
AW: Listen, I can’t do it now…
HENRY GELDZAHLER: Andy, I remember you from the Sixties. I’II never forget you. I’m going to make a speech at the Pierre Hotel right now about Morton Gould. I’m high on a combination of Bourbon and magic?
AW: This is going to be in the paper.
HENRY: I don’t care where it is. It’s going to be in the papers on the front page.
HENRY: Commissioner out of Commission.
AW: Henry is my best friend, he’s the New York City Commissioner of Culture. Henry, this is Jodie Foster.
RAYMOND FOYE: Hi, Jodie, I’m Henry’s best friend!
HENRY: Andy, if I see you tomorrow at 1:00 I’ll be happy.
AW: You’ll see me tomorrow.
HENRY: I have an idea which is nighttime except it’s not black yet. Night is falling, night is young, like there’s still some blue in the sky. Do you know what I mean?
HENRY: We’ll talk tomorrow.
AW: Why aren’t you on the live TV programs in the morning?
HENRY: I’m on tonight at 10:20.
AW: Yeah, but why aren’t you on those live TV programs every morning on Channel 4?
HENRY: I’d rather stay in bed and play with him. Goodbye, Andy.
AW: Bye. If you want to know about art, Henry is the best art person. He went to Harvard.
JODIE: Everybody went to Harvard.
BRANDY: Look at the Corbusier chairs.
JODIE: Those are great.
AW: They make them so often but you should collect them. I collect 1940s furniture—Eames chairs.
JODIE: I have an Eames chair in my room.
BRANDY: It’s twenty-three years old.
AW: There’s a Campbell’s box of mine. Isn’t that funny?
JODIE: I love those. It’s terrible to be such a fan.
AW: We’re such a fans of yours. See, art is an investment. You have to buy the art that’s going to go up. It’s like a stock. You have to buy it from the best gallery. You can’t just love it. You have to love it if it goes up.
JODIE: It’s a business like everything else. That’s what I love about movie making. You laugh at it but it is a business. I love talking points and knowing everything about it—producers, meetings and briefcases. I always dreamed of having a briefcase and à little office.
AW: You can be a producer.
JODIE: Yeah, I think it’s funny.
BRANDY: Jodie, I think you should try and paint.
JODIE: I’d like to some time.
BRANDY: I bought her some oils but I think she’s afraid of them.
AW: Oils are messy. Acrylics are better.
BRANDY: When Jodie does drawings she always captures something about the person, that’s true.
AW: Also, marry a millionaire.
JODIE: No, a cook. An Italian cook.
BOB: Anybody but a model.
JODIE: I suppose I would feel a little strange going out with someone terribly terribly handsome.
JODIE: I don’t know.
BRANDY: I know why. Because she wants people to look at her and not the guy. Right?
JODIE: That’s right.
AW: But you can have pretty babies with a handsome guy.
AT DINNER AT 65 IRVING PLACE
JODIE: Mom was a Catholic but now she’s a Muslim.
AW: You’re a Catholic that’s a Muslim?
BRANDY: I haven’t been a Catholic since I graduated.
JODIE: She graduated from the convent.
AW: I’m a good Catholic.
JODIE: Once a Catholic always a Catholic.
BRANDY: I actually have callouses on my knees from being in the convent. We used to have to take retreats where you couldn’t talk for two weeks.
AW: I think that’s great.
BOB: Now you really believe in Islam?
BRANDY: Yes. I do. And it came about purely by chance.
AW: You mean that’s like Iranian?
BRANDY: That’s one phase of it. I believe in just one God.
JODIE: It’s funny but if one week I start saying, “Oh wow, I really like Marvin Gaye, or Oh, I really like Aretha Franklin,” my mother goes and she buys all these records and she listens to them. So she knows what I’m talking about when I say things. That’s nice because we’re a team. It’s like if I say I really like this film, she’ll go out and see it. It’s the same thing with Islam. When she started getting into Islam / started reading about it and it’s all very very interesting. I don’t believe in anything, but l’m not an atheist, I’m not an agnostic.
BOB: But you don’t smoke or drink.
BRANDY: I smoke. I don’t drink.
BOB: Do you ever wear veils?
BRANDY: No. It isn’t necessary.
BOB: Have you been to the Middle East?
BRANDY: No. Hopefully, this year I’m going for the hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca prescribed as a religious duty for Muslims].
ВОВ: То Месса?
BRANDY: Yes. But l’m certainly a modern person. It came out of having a very strong political interest for a long time, out of trying to understand the other side of what we see in the media here. For me it became the most modern. It’s a very simple religion of, actually, just social law. It’s the first religion to make laws to protect women.
AW: Why do they wear masks?
BOB: It’s a rule.
BRANDY: It’s not a rule. It never has been a rule. It’s a tradition. My main concern now is human rights—the Palestinians. I don’t think there will ever be any kind of peace until that’s settled.
AW: How can it be settled?
JODIE: The reason it has been difficult for the United States to understand the Palestinian side is not only because of the media but because colonialism is in our history. We can’t face the fact that colonialism is wrong and that it steps on a lot of toes and hurts a lot of people.
BOB: Well, when you have TIME magazine do a cover story on Palestinian rights you see that the perception of the problem is changing.
BOB: Do these names mean anything to you? Do you watch those old movies?
JODIE: I never watch the old movies. I feel sort of guilty because I know so much about what is going on today. I know nothing about the beginning of the movies. I know nothing about the history of film.
BOB: Andy, you must be on 20/20 now.
AW: Jodie, can you watch yourself on TV?
JODIE: Sure. I was raised on TV. It doesn’t bother me. I was never old enough to feel shy in front of it. I’m very at ease in front of a camera. I think that’s the skill really – being able to charm a camera, being able to charm a lens. I don’t know what I’d do in front of 50 million people in a theater.
BRANDY: You have to try it sometime.
JODIE: I have no patience for television. I don’t like watching anything on a small screen unless it’s a movie that l’ve seen before and one I really like. I can’t watch television. But I see every movie that comes out, even the bad ones. That way I can know about nowadays. I feel sort of bad about the history of it but for me its gotten nothing but better. Just the style of acting nowadays is different. It’s what people want. It becomes more and more subtle as people become more and more sophisticated in their tastes. I think the people that get into it late, when they’re 23 or 24, are sort of shy and inhibited. I think they should probably go to acting class. I’m sure that that way if they got into their character they would feel more at ease. It’s second nature to me—I’ve been in it so long.
BOB: How do you get into a character?
JODIE: I don’t.
BOB: You just learn the lines?
JODIE: Yes. I would think that it would be sort of something to hide behind if you got into a character. It would be just because you’re shy. . .
BOB: That’s very refreshing to hear.
JODIE: It’s a different approach, that’s all. I’m sure maybe that I might have a method locked up there somewhere but it’s an unconscious one. And I enjoy it; why make a job out of it.
BRANDY: Did you know that Jodie had a hit record in Paris?
AW: No. What was it called?
JODIE: It was a ballad. I did it in both French and English. Literally translated it means something ridiculous. In English it was called, “When I Look at Your Face.”
AW: And you stopped doing records?
JODIE: I just don’t want to be a singer. I’d love to do a musical though, just because it’s so demanding and it’s a different kind of thing.
BOB: Do you dance?
JODIE: No, but I’m sort of coordinated. I play tennis, it’s the same thing. I don’t want to do anything until I can do something that’s really fantastic. I’d like to do something that’s more bluesy-soul and less commercial.
BOB: Do you like New Wave music?
JODIE: I like every kind of music. When we were in Dallas we went to this country and western disco.
BOB: Called “Cowboys”?
JODIE: Yes. I love that place. And I like disco if the top is down in my car and I’m rolling along the freeway. I really do appreciate music, any kind of music; it’s so soothing.
(A girl with a Bo Derek hairdo walks by.)
JODIE: My mom and I wanted to do that to our hair. I just had my hair cut today. I never go to hairdressers. I just have it cut once a year. Mom was afraid I’d come back today and it would be all cut off.
BRANDY: Jodie wants a New Wave haircut.
JODIE: No, I don’t.
BRANDY: Jodie is going to her first senior prom.
BOB: How do kids your own age react to you?
JODIE: The same way as everyone else.
BOB: They don’t treat you as a star?
JODIE: No. I don’t think they would treat me like anything unless I acted like it. They don’t really pay attention. It’s a job and it’s the one l’ve always had—since I was three. Adults have difficulty. They don’t know quite how to treat me. Children know right away. It doesn’t really make any difference what you’ve done, it’s how you are right at that moment. It doesn’t make any difference what you’ve accomplished. I feel like someone from the outside looking in. I guess l’m involved but not really involved. I just like everything about the movie business. It’s fascinating. It amazes me that people would do anything to be in a film. I cannot see the glamor of being in a film. People that have everything in the world say, “God, if I just could be in a movie. Do you know Warren Beatty? Do you know Robert Redford? ford?” I can’t see the attraction.
BOB: That’s because you’ve always had it.
JODIE: I don’t want to say that I’m stronger than anyone else but it takes a certain amount of understanding and insight. Twenty-four hours a day when someone says, “Oh, you’re lovely, let me do your nails”—that doesn’t mean anything. That’s real nice but it’s not real life. I like the movies because it is a business. At the same time it’s a business that’s really good to you. I meet thou sands and thousands of people and I feel that I can do other things. Most kids my age find it difficult to talk to adults. It’s not because they’re not on their intelligence level, it’s because they’re shy. They don’t feel that they have a place. Mom is the biggest part. We’re a team. We’re like Laurel and Hardy.
BOB: Where is your father?
JODIE: They were divorced before I was born. I’ve seen him a few times. My brothers and sisters all know him.
BOB: When was the last time you saw him?
JODIE: Last week.
BOB: How do you get along?
JODIE: I just say hello. I see him on the street and that’s about it. I don’t know him. I don’t really consider him my father. And I feel lucky just because I guess not having a father it’s. … You always find that success comes from a strong mother influence. That’s my view. I always ordered in restaurants when I was little. When we used to go overseas I always asked directions. If we were to choose wine my mother would show me the wine list—even though I don’t drink. It’s important to give a child a say.
Redacted by Brigid Berlin