February 8, 2011
Foster directed and stars in The Beaver, which will be released in spring 2011. The movie deals with major depression and a family striving for recovery. In the moving comedy-drama, a man living with mental illness becomes disconnected from his family and needs help.
He begins to communicate through a beaver puppet.
Foster acknowledges that "depression is a serious thing …and there is nothing romantic about it," but "we are born with comedy and tragedy and that is in some ways the human condition."
"Depression is a part of all our lives. Everyone has experience with it either in their own families or with friends. I had a lot of personal connections," Foster said.
"When you are acting and you squeeze everything out of the sponge, you learn much more about it. I took this very personal topic that I have a lot of feelings about and I say everything that there is possible to say about it," she continued.
In the interview, Foster discussed a "ruminating spirit" often connected to depression.
"There is the type of person who sees a problem, tragedy or complicated situation and instead of running from it, they ask questions …Why did this happen? Let me think about this in 500 ways."
"Some depressed people show that they have the propensity to ruminate," she said. "There is a line of course when it is very dangerous with depression, and that is part of what the movie addresses as well."
In the movie, healing begins, but there are no easy answers.
"We can't give up on one another," Foster said. If there is any lesson to be learned that's the one.
NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.
About The Advocate
The Advocate is NAMI's print magazine for members published three times a year. Only the Jody Foster interview in the current issue is accessible online to non-members. NAMI also publishes a monthly e-Advocate newsletter with open access on its website