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THE BRAVE ONE

Sound And Fury
"I think we all have these ideas that there are lines that we would never cross and people we could never be,” says Jodie Foster, the star and executive producer of "The Brave One.” "And yet, you don't know who you would become in a certain circumstance. You might assume, intellectually, what your ethics might be, but until you are forced into a situation that challenges you, that changes you, you can't know who you would be.”

Director Neil Jordan agrees. "‘The Brave One' poses some uneasy moral questions. I think when we are wronged, a part of us would love to react with a kind of primitive brutality so we could right it immediately. But we don't because civilization teaches us not to do that. So the spectacle of seeing somebody descending into a morally questionable area is both horrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

When the script for "The Brave One” first came to producers Joel Silver and Susan Downey, it had all the hallmarks of a vigilante action genre film, with one important distinction: the vigilante was a woman. "When we read the script, we liked that it was a hard-edged action picture but was about something bigger,” Silver remarks. "It was thrilling and suspenseful, and it also had a very dark, emotional story about a woman who suffers a terrible tragedy. Erica Bain is attacked and beaten and her fiancé is killed. Physically she comes back to health, but her life is completely changed. She has to reach into herself to find a way through, and she does…but the way she does is what set the story apart for us. In order for her to survive, she has to find the courage to overcome the fear and take back her life in whatever way she can. That's what makes her ‘The Brave One.'”

Downey offers, "The original screenplay for ‘The Brave One' was by a father and son writing team, Roderick and Bruce Taylor. It hit every mark you want a genre piece to hit, but with a woman in the central role, it brought something different to the concept of a vigilante movie. Then, as the script evolved, we brought on Cynthia Mort to add a female voice to the writing team. Since the story is essentially Erica's journey, it was important to understand from a woman's point of view why and how she would choose to act, and what the aftereffects would be.”

"The second you put a woman in a role like this, you have to ask different questions because her actions are so uncharacteristic,” notes Foster. "Generally speaking, women don't kill people they don't know; they don't kill randomly, which I think makes the path Erica takes all the more interesting. It was interesting to explore her inner turmoil, her confusion. She doesn't exactly know what she is doing or why she's doing it, but at the same time, she almost marvels at her actions. What she does understand is that fear has turned her into somebody unrecognizable and, in turn, caused her to assume the mantle of a killer.”

Foster goes on to observe, "Her encounters with danger change as the movie unfolds. The first time, it's this anomalous thing and terrible violence comes to her. The second time is also happenstance; she's in the wrong place at the wrong time. But the next time, she realizes that she had the option of going to safety and didn't choose it. Perhaps it isn't entirely clear to her what her motives are, but my feeling is that in reenacting a situation of the worst fear imaginable, she gets to experience it completely differently. She gets to change the characters and the outcome, and if she can change the outcome, then maybe she can bring back the dead, as crazy as that sounds.”

With Foster in the role of Erica Bain, the character underwent some changes from the original script in which she had been a newspaper reporter. Downey explains, "Jodie came on board with the idea of her being a radio personality, which lent itself<

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