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Jodie Foster’s very, very brief pop music career
08.18.2017
09:23 am
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What were you doing when you were 15? How many movies had you appeared in? How many singles had you put out? How many books had you written? (Or read?)

That Jodie Foster, in 1977, was an unusual 15-year-old isn’t news. By that time she had already appeared in at least one box-office hit, Bugsy Malone, as well as arguably the most bracing and accomplished product of the New American Cinema ever committed to film, Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. She was attending a French lycée which she once described to Andy Warhol in the pages of Interview thus:
 

It’s great, man. All the teachers are like 21 or 22 and have long hair and beards and everything. Being in this school, you don’t have to do anything.


 
A minute later Warhol offers Foster a Bloody Mary (she was 14 at the time). Foster may not have been “doing anything” at that lycée, but two things are clear: she was perfectly fluent in French by that time, and her education was at least good enough to enable her to attend Yale as well as become one of the top actresses in the world as an adult.

In 1977 Foster flirted briefly with pursuing a career in pop music. She released a couple of singles and made some appearances on French TV as a singer. She appeared on the soundtrack for a movie called Moi, fleur bleue (in America the title was Stop Calling Me Baby!) singing a song called “When I Looked at Your Face.” She released that track as a single and also put out another single called “Je t’attends depuis la nuit des temps.”
 
Watch the video after the jump, along with Foster’s rendition of a famous Serge Gainsbourg song…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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08.18.2017
09:23 am
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The song co-written by DEVO and John Hinckley Jr., Ronald Reagan’s failed assassin


 
If you look carefully at the credits for DEVO’s 1982 album Oh, No! It’s DEVO, you will spot a name that doesn’t ordinarily pop up in the DEVO universe or even the music world generally. The name is John Hinckley, Jr., and he is best known to the world as the man who tried to kill President Ronald Reagan in 1981, in a batshit-crazy attempt to win the amorous affections of Jodie Foster, then still a teenager. Hinckley was strongly influenced by The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and, far more pertinently, Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, in which Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle considers assassinating a U.S. Senator named Palantine but then opts to murder the pimp who has rights over a teen prostitute portrayed by the selfsame Jodie Foster.
 

 
When Foster enrolled in Yale University, Hinckley moved all the way from Texas to New Haven, just so he could be near her. He engaged in a lot of creepy, stalker behavior that if you saw it in a movie, you’d think it was overdone, enrolling in the same writing class as her, leaving all kinds of poems and messages for her, and calling her repeatedly. Eventually he would squeeze off six rounds outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington, wounding two Secret Service agents and Reagan’s press secretary as well as (via a ricochet) the president himself.

According to Rolling Stone, DEVO got in touch with Hinckley and acquired one of his demented love poems to Foster and adapted it into a song called “I Desire.” Here are some representative lyrics:
 

I pledge allegiance to the fact
That you’re wise to walk away
For nothing is more dangerous
Than desire when it’s wrong

Don’t let me torment you
Don’t let me bring you down
Don’t ever let me hurt you
Don’t let me fail because

I desire your attention
I desire your perfect love
I desire nothing more

 
The stunt not only annoyed Warner Bros., who learned that they would be obliged to send Hinckley royalty payments for the song, but also, according to Rolling Stone, won DEVO the official attentions of the Federal Bureau of Investigation:
 

As Mark Mothersbaugh recalled, “[Hinckley] let us take a poem that he had written, and we used it for the lyrics and turned it into a love song. It was not the best career move you could make. We had the FBI calling up and threatening us.”

 
In November of 1982, Hinckley wrote a letter to the “Morning Zoo” crew of KZEW, a Dallas radio station, in which he professes his love for “New Wave music” (hey, me too!) and requests that the station play “I Desire” a total of “58 times each day.” Here’s the full quote:
 

I like New Wave music, especially Devo, since I co-wrote a song on their new album. The song is called “I Desire” and I want you to play it 58 times each day.

 

 
In the letter Hinckley also writes, “I used to listen to the song ‘Heroes’ by David Bowie when I was stalking Carter and Reagan. It got me in a strange mood. ... In March and April of 1980, I hung out at Peaches Record Store on Fitzhugh.” Peaches, which used to be on the intersection of Cole and Fitzhugh in northern Dallas, has, alas, bitten the dust.

Below, listen to “I Desire,” the only new wave ditty ever co-written by a presidential assassin:
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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01.29.2015
11:40 am
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Behind the scenes of ‘Silence of the Lambs’
04.24.2014
10:13 am
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Hannibal Lecter’s second appearance on the screen was in 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs, the film that allegedly helped sales of chianti, fava beans and skin lotion. Based on the novel by Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs starred Anthony Hopkins as serial killing cannibal, Doctor Lecter, and Jodie Foster as FBI agent Clarice Starling.

Though he can be chilling, I always found Hopkins interpretation of Lecter far more cartoon-like than the nuanced performance given by Scottish actor Brian Cox in Michael Mann’s first Lecter film Manhunter. Cox as Lecter (or “Lecktor” in the film) seemed believably sane, normal even, but allowed enough glimpses of the deadly psychopath lurking underneath to make his Lecter far more menacing. Interestingly, Demme originally had another Scot in mind for the role, Sean Connery.

As for Clarice Starling, Demme had wanted Michelle Pfeiffer for the role as they had worked well together on Married to the Mob. But the actress was nervous of the subject matter and turned the part down. It then fell to Foster, who had read the book and was keen to make the role her own, which she did. The film proved to be a major hit and cleaned up at the Oscars deservedly winning awards for the actors and director. This selection of photographs gives a sneak on to what was happening during the making of The Silence of the Lambs.
 
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More behind the scenes photos after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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04.24.2014
10:13 am
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Jodie Foster, age 9, for View-Master
11.21.2013
10:29 am
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I abidingly loved my Viewmaster when I was a kid. If you’re not sure what one is, I feel badly for you, but it’s the descendent of those old stereoscopic photo viewers, evolved over a century to become a brilliant children’s toy. My favorite slides were the Hanna-Barbera character tie-ins, which, looking back, were of VASTLY higher quality than the cheaply ground-out cartoons themselves. I also quite loved the travelogues - I may never have been to the Alps, but by god, I saw them in full 3D glory when I was five! I’d love to wax rhapsodic at length about these things, but DM’s Paul J. Gallagher beat me to the post by about a year. It’s a wonderful post, you should have a look.

In this Viewmaster ad from 1971, Jodie Foster, a full five years before her show-stealing performance as an underaged prostitute in Taxi Driver brought her to America and John Hinkley Jr.’s attention, similarly (though far less scandalously) stole the show from the venerable Henry Fonda!
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch
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11.21.2013
10:29 am
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15-year-old Jodie Foster sings a Serge Gainsbourg tune
02.05.2013
01:57 pm
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A 15-year-old Jodie Foster sings Serge Gainsbourg’s “Comic Strip” with Claude Francois on French TV in 1977.

Foster speaks French impeccably and pulls this off beautifully.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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02.05.2013
01:57 pm
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