One of the saddest by-products of the Hollywood fame game is the Teenage Burn-Out. Once puberty robs them of their angelic looks and innate cuteness, child stars traditionally have a terrible time keeping their feet on the ladder. In a time when image and box office records mean everything, they’ve not only become another person but also carry the burden of not being able to provide what they once did. Think Macaulay Culkin, or the awful fall of Drew Barrymore. It should have happened to Jodie Foster, too. In fact, many people think it did. Popular wisdom has it that she broke precociously through as a 12-year-old whore in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, enjoyed a brief spell of success then disappeared, only to struggle heroically back with her Oscar-winning performance, ten years later, in The Accused.
But this is far from the truth. Jodie had actually been a Face from the age of 3, starring in TV commercials. Then came many TV and film roles, meaning that, come Taxi Driver she was already a seasoned veteran. After that burst of teen stardom, she chose college over a short-term career, then returned in a series of deliberately chosen “interesting” roles, as she studied techniques on both sides of the camera. And now, due to these efforts, she’s a producer, director, double Oscar-winner AND, as 2002’s hit Panic Room proved, a $10 million-a-picture actress, capable of carrying a Number One movie on her own.