It is often the case that actors have to take on roles they are not wholly comfortable with. This, among other things, might involve dressing up in a manner that is uncomfortable to them, which is exactly what Jodie Foster went through on Taxi Driver.
Foster essayed the role of Iris in the film, who was markedly different than the actress herself. She opened up about her experience with the costume in particular, speaking to The Hollywood Reporter. The actress also talked about the challenges she faced on set, especially when the weight of the character hit her.
Jodie Foster was upset at the costume fitting for Taxi Driver
In stark contrast to the character of Iris, Foster described herself as a tomboy to The Hollywood Reporter, which was documenting an oral history of the film, 40 years after its release. Foster said:
“At the fitting, I was sniffing back tears because I had to wear those dumb shorts, platform shoes and halter tops. It was everything I hated. I was a tomboy who wore knee socks. But I got over it.”
Foster admitted to how she felt in the film, given that her dress was not in line with what she wore normally. There was also the fact that the character in the film was an underage s*x worker, making the entire situation that much more delicate. However, apart from the costume, every effort was put towards making the scenes as comfortable for the actress as possible. She added:
“Part of the deal was that any scenes that felt uncomfortable sexually, they would have an adult be a stand-in. So my sister Connie, who was over 18, stood in for a couple of over-the-shoulder shots.”
The actress, while uncomfortable during the time of the fitting, delivered a performance that won her the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Jodie Foster incorporated some of her mannerisms into Iris
Despite the character of Iris being so far removed from what Jodie Foster was like in real life, she ended up incorporating a lot of her quirks into the character, such as her wit and charm, which translated well on the big screen, given the accolades she earned for the character.
A theme that runs through Taxi Driver is the ‘fall of man’, as Robert De Niro’s character witnesses the downfall of 70s New York. Foster’s Iris is a 12-year-old, whose innocence and tragic circumstances cause him to make the change he wants to see in the world. This character shines through in the film due to Foster’s performance in large part, because of the nature of the characters and her place in the narrative.