We learned a lot about Jodie Foster last night at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s screening of “The Beaver.” She didn’t like being directed by the late Dennis Hopper, for one. Indeed, “Catchfire,” (1990) which Hopper directed Foster in the year before “The Silence of the Lambs” earned her an Oscar, was so bad that Hopper took his name off the final cut. He used “Alan Smithee” instead, the pseudonym directors use when they want to hide their bad or changed work. “Catchfire” runs 3 hours long in its origignal version, is also known on video as “Backtrack.” and was, naturally, a huge flop now forgotten.
During the Q&A with Richard Pena following the screening of “The Beaver,” Foster let it slip about this experience. “I worked with an actor-director who was a major pain,” Foster said. “It was very difficult for me. Very difficult.” At a dinner following the screening at The Atlantic restaurant on West 65th St., Foster confirmed the director was Hopper after our table mate, Scott Foundas of Film Comment, did a quick check on the IMDB. Other guests at the dinner included Foster’s “Lambs” director Jonathan Demme and famed writer-director Robert Benton, as well as Regis and Joy Philbin, Stone Phillips, and Gayle King.