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Jodie Foster sticks up for Kristen Stewart, blames ‘gladiator sport of celebrity culture’

Meriah Doty
Movie Talk
August 15, 2012

In 2002's "Panic Room," Jodie Foster played a mother desperate to protect her daughter from intruders. The young actress who played her daughter was 11-year-old Kristen Stewart. And like her role, Foster remains protective of her on-screen little girl.

"If I were a young actor today I would quit before I started," Foster wrote in a column published on The Daily Beast. The piece was aimed at criticizing the "gladiator sport of celebrity culture" that has taken aim at Stewart -- now 22 -- since news broke that she cheated on Robert Pattinson with her married "Snow White and the Huntsman" director.

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Foster offered a birds eye view into what it is like to grow up in the spotlight -- as she too was a child actor, working since the age of three. "If I had to grow up in this media culture, I don't think I could survive it emotionally. I would only hope that someone who loved me, really loved me, would put their arm around me and lead me away to safety," Foster wrote, clearly empathizing with Stewart.

An impressive piece of prose (Foster did graduate from Yale, after all), the 49-year-old actress described her experience on set with Stewart more than a decade ago: "We talked and laughed for hours, sharing spontaneous mysteries and venting our boredom. I grew to love that kid." Foster also said she warned Stewart's mother about growing up in show business, and that Stewart's mom indicated at the time that her daughter loves it and probably couldn't be talked out of it.

Foster described a scenario of what it must be like in Kristen Stewart's shoes day-to-day, shielding herself from the paparazzi, looking to the ground as cameras snap: "She keeps her head down, her shades on, fists in her pockets. Don't speak. Don't look. Don't cry."

[Related: Robert Pattinson set to play Lawrence of Arabia]

Railing against the spectacle of celebrity culture, Foster argued that it's not as glamorous as it seems from the outside: "Actors who become celebrities are supposed to be grateful for the public interest. After all, they're getting paid. Just to set the record straight, a salary for a given on-screen performance does not include the right to invade anyone's privacy, to destroy someone's sense of self."

Stewart's career -- at least -- seems relatively unaffected by the cheating scandal so far. Reports surfaced that Stewart had been dropped from the second installment of "Snow White and the Huntsman," but they wound up being untrue, according to the film's studio, Universal [via the L.A. Times].

Watch Foster and Stewart in 'Panic Room' (2002):

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