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Jodie Foster on why her role in 'The Mauritanian' was so rare

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STX Films/Graham Bartholomew(LOS ANGELES) — With The Mauritanian, Jodie Foster did something she rarely does: she took a role based on a real person. She plays Nancy Hollander in the film, a no-nonsense red-lipsticked lawyer who takes up the case of Guantanamo Bay prisoner Mohamedou Ould Salahi, played by Tahar Rahim.

“Yeah, I don’t really like playing real people,” Foster, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for the role, admits to ABC Audio. “I’ve only done it once before,” she says of playing Anna Leonowens in Anna and the King, “And the person that I played was like, had been dead for two hundred years. It made a little bit easier.”

But she adds that Nancy was too “amazing” of a character to pass up, though Foster admits she did give her Nancy a bit of “meaner” edge.

“[Nancy] definitely pointed out like, you know, ‘I would never be that rude to somebody,'” Foster laughs. “And I was like, well, that’s why they call it movies! You know, she understood.”

While the film takes place in the years following 9/11, Foster says it’s, “very relevant to what’s going on right now” in our country.

“The rule of law is so important to how our government works, how we work as humans,” she says. “I was there during 9/11 like we all were in America and the kind of fear and terror that we felt. Why we need democratic institutions is so that we can do justice without being biased by our emotions.”

The Mauritanian, also starring Shailene Woodley and Benedict Cumberbatch, hits theaters today.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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