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Cannes 2011: 'The Beaver' director Jodie Foster: Our movie struck out in the U.S. because Americans don't like dramedies

May 17, 2011 |  8:19 am

Foste
"The Beaver" at least partly flopped in the U.S. because it starred Mel Gibson. But director Jodie Foster has a different explanation for the film's tanking: American sensibilities.

"It's designed to do something different," Foster told reporters, referring to her film, at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday, pointing out that the movie is a high-concept comedy that also has many dramatic elements. "And very often Americans are not comfortable with [that]." She went on to say that she feels American usually want films to fit in one box or another.

The movie, which stars Gibson as a depressed man who puts on a beaver puppet in the name of self-therapy, has failed to crack even $1 million in domestic box office since coming out in limited release on May 6.

Foster said she was hoping for a better response in Europe, where the film will open in many territories after playing the Cannes Film Festival Tuesday night. "I always assumed that because it has a European style it will be well-received in Europe," she said. (It's also worth noting that the Gibson controversies, which involve his alleged rants at ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva and anti-Semitic comments to a police officer in 2006, have created less of a media stir on that continent than in North America.)

At Cannes, Gibson will turn out for the red carpet gala, Foster said. "He won't talk, but he'll be here,"  she said, marking one of the first large-scale public appearances since the Grigorieva scandal erupted last summer.

As she did in U.S. interviews, Foster continued to defend he choice of Gibson as the film's star, despite his baggage and potential drag on the box office. "He handles the charm and the humor of the characters while still keeping his feet in drama," she said. "And the first order of business is to say who's the right actor for the role. At this point I can't think of anyone else but Mel."

-- Steven Zeitchik

Twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Jodie Foster prepares to address reporters in Cannes, France. Credit: Ian Langsdon / EPA


 
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No Dramedy love? What about Mash or Network or the Breakfast Club? Or The Player ---or Adaptaion? Clerks or the film Swingers? The Man Who Wasn't There and many or even most other Coen brothers' films. Being John Malkovich or The Darjeeling Limited? Sideways? So Americans don't like dramedies or something different?! It would be refreshing to hear Foster--at least in hindsight--to admit that just maybe Gibson wasn't such a great casting move. (Roll eyes here...) Blaming Americans for your failure as a director is just sad and shows Foster's limitations, not the American audience. Blameshifting is just so pathetic.

The trailer of this film did not do it any justice.

There have been thousands of films made that flop at the US box office. It has nothing to do with Mel Gibson or his private life. It's not his fans, the public or Hollywood that need to forgive him, its the biased mainstream media.

His personal and private life having nothing to do with anyone.

He's a great actor and film maker.

Saw the movie and liked it. Mel was excellent.

It struck out because Mel Gibson is toxic. His presence in the movie was sufficient reason for great numbers of people to give it the go-by.

To Cookie: Listing Breakfast Club and Swingers as dramedies shows how little you know about movies. Ditto listing The Player, or "Adaptaion" [sic], and The Darjeeling Limited as successful.

And for every Fargo, there's a Raising Arizona, so saying "most other Coen brothers' films" are dramedies also proves how little you know about film.

If you saw The Beaver -- clearly you haven't -- you'd have seen Mel turned in one of the best performances in his acclaimed career.

The title of the movie sounds like its a porno. A different title couldn't have hurt it.

Usually, I'm able to forget what I know about an actor when I watch them perform, but when I see Gibson trying to act, all I can remember is a loop of his voice telling Grigorieva she's going to be gang raped. There are just some things you can't unhear.

A little too much of Foster's pseudo elitism didn't help. You know, the high toned university education, restrictive personal interviews, snobbish public attitude, and her upper-class patrician face didn't help at all.

Lame, Jodie. She's three films into her directorial career and has yet to really distinguish herself. And "Home for the Holidays" was an utter disaster.

Please take note that the movie was not on wide release like "Thor" and people who want to see no matter what Hollywood said, just cannot see it. Obviously, Hollywood bigwigs who claimed to be offended by some of Gibson's actions and comments are still out for revenge against him. I can't help but think about movie stars who misbehaved in the past and have not been judged the way that Gibson is being judged right now. He made some mistakes, he already apologized for it, his former wife even to his defense and I just wish stars whom Gibson helped in the past like Britney Spears will come to his defense too that he is not a monster like Hollywood has pictured him recently. I will still be seeing Gibson's movies no matter what Hollywood says, just like what I did with "Passion of the Christ," "Brave Heart," and "Lethal Weapon" series. "He who committed no sin cast the first stone."


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