Jodie Foster is opening up again about how, but for a turn of fate, she nearly took on the role of Star Wars‘ Princess Leia, instead of Carrie Fisher.

The premiere of HBO’s True Detective: Night Country has Jodie Foster out doing press, and when she appeared on The Tonight Show this week, host Jimmy Fallon had to ask about the version of Star Wars that nearly had Foster wearing those now-iconic cinnamon bun hair rolls.

“I was [offered the role of Leia], yeah,” Foster said in reply to Fallon’s question about Star Wars. “They were going for a younger Princess Leia but I had a conflict. I was doing a Disney movie and I just didn’t want to pull out of the Disney movie because I was already under contract.”

For context: Carrie Fisher took on the role of Princess Leia when she was 19 years old; Jodie Foster would’ve been 13-15 when the movie was filmed and released in theaters. Needless to say, Foster’s version of Leia wouldn’t have been the same kind of sex symbol that Fisher’s version was – at least hopefully not.

Then again, it’s hard for any true cinephile to deny the irony that Jodie Foster got her big break at age 12, playing an inner-city child prostitute in Martin Scorsese’s classic film Taxi Driver. That role as “Iris” earned Foster an Academy Award nomination – but also sparked a lot of uncomfortable (if not controversial) scrutiny about Taxi Driver’s unprecedented depiction of an underage sex worker onscreen – not to mention the questions and concerns about Foster as a pre-teen actress performing in a film that was seedy, disturbing, and ultimately violent. As subsequent years have revealed, Foster had proper care on set, so stepping out of that and into the role of Princess Leia would’ve been a cakewalk by comparison – on and off screen.

That all said, Taxi Driver was enough of some explicit onscreen exposure for a very young Jodie Foster – continuing that trend with the overwhelming response that Princess Leia would be teetered on creepy for a girl not even 18 years of age.

As history goes, it was Carrie Fisher’s more mature age that arguably took Princess Leia to a whole new stratosphere than where a younger actress would’ve reached. Fisher’s mature intelligence and wit made Leia part of a wave of dynamic heroines of that era (see also: Sarah Connor, Ellen Ripley, etc.); not to mention her more age-appropriate beauty making her a viable sex symbol for the pop-culture masses.

Star Wars movies can be streamed on Disney+. True Detective: Night Country can be streamed on Max.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *