Why Jodie Foster was forced to turn down iconic Star Wars role

Leon Miller
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in Star Wars

True Detective’s Jodie Foster recently revealed why she passed on one of the Star Wars saga’s biggest roles.

Foster got her start as a child actor in Disney live-action movies such as 1976’s Freak Friday. She also appeared in decidedly more grown-up fare, earning an Oscar nomination for Martin Scorsese‘s seminal thriller Taxi Driver.

The LA native soon graduated to more mature roles, winning acclaim for her turns in the likes of Five Corners, The Accused, and The Silence of the Lambs. The latter two films earned Foster a pair of Best Actress Oscars.

In the years since then, Foster has appeared in a range of modern classics, including Panic Room and Inside Man. She’s also carved out a successful career directing both big and small screen productions.

Why Jodie Foster was forced to turn down iconic Star Wars role

Yet for all Foster’s incredible achievements, her filmography could’ve been even more jaw-dropping, had she accepted one of cinema’s most legendary assignments: Star Wars.

Foster confirmed during an appearance on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon (03:18 in the above clip) that circumstances compelled her to knock back the Princess Leia role. Leia was ultimately portrayed by Carrie Fisher, instead.

“They were going for a younger Princess Leia but I had a conflict” she explained. “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. And they did an amazing job [without me].”

“I don’t know how good I would have been [as Leia]. I might have had different hair,” Foster added, referencing Fisher’s infamous “cinnamon bun” hairstyle in Star Wars: A New Hope. “I might have gone with a pineapple.”

Jodie Foster almost turned down True Detective

Funnily enough, Foster nearly didn’t sign on for her latest project, either. The star recently admitted she almost passed on True Detective Season 4, as she couldn’t see herself in the Detective Liz Danvers role.

“It wasn’t an easy yes,” she said. “I loved the script – loved the script – but I didn’t feel like I was right to play Danvers. The character was written very differently, not for someone my age, and I felt like there are some changes that happen at that age that needed to be addressed.”

However, Foster eventually joined Season 4’s cast, after showrunner Issa López retooled the Danvers part to address her concerns.

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