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Jodie Foster in The Brave One

For Erica Bain (Jodie Foster), the streets of New York are both her home and her livelihood. She shares the sounds and the stories of her beloved city with her radio audience as the host of the show “Street Walk.” At night, she goes home to the love of her life, her fiancé David Kirmani (Naveen Andrews). But everything Erica knows and loves is ripped from her on one terrible night when she and David are ambushed in a random, vicious attack that leaves David dead and Erica close to it.
Though Erica’s broken body heals, deeper wounds remain—the devastation of losing David and, even more overwhelming, a suffocating fear that haunts her every step. The city streets she had once loved to roam, even places that had been warm and familiar, now feel strange and threatening.
When the fear finally becomes too much to bear, Erica makes a fateful decision to arm herself against it. The gun in her hand becomes a tangible way to protect herself from an intangible enemy…or so she thinks.
The first time she shoots someone, it is kill or be killed. The second time is also in self-defense…or did she make a choice not to take herself out of harm’s way? The fear that had once paralyzed her has been replaced by something else…something that drives her to reclaim the life that was taken from her that night…something that Erica does not even recognize in herself.
Stories of an anonymous vigilante grip the city, and NYPD detective Sean Mercer (Terrence Howard) becomes increasingly determined to track down the killer. As he pieces together the clues, the evidence begins to point not to a guy with a gun…but a woman with a grudge.
With Mercer closing in and her own conscience trying her, Erica must decide whether her quest for some form of justice, and even vengeance, is truly the right path, or if she has become the very thing she is hunting.

Two-time Academy Award winner Jodie Foster (“The Silence of the Lambs,” “The Accused”) and Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard (“Hustle & Flow,” “Crash”) star in “The Brave One.” The film is directed by Academy Award winner Neil Jordan (“The Crying Game”) and produced by Joel Silver (“The Matrix” trilogy, “V For Vendetta”) and Susan Downey (“Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”).
The main cast also includes Naveen Andrews (TV’s “Lost,” “The English Patient”) as David, Erica’s fiancé; Nicky Katt (“Grindhouse”) as Mercer’s partner, Detective Vitale; and Academy Award winner Mary Steenburgen (“Melvin and Howard”) as Carol, Erica’s boss at the radio station.
Jordan directed “The Brave One” from a screenplay by Roderick Taylor & Bruce A. Taylor and Cynthia Mort, story by Roderick Taylor & Bruce A. Taylor. Herbert W. Gains, Jodie Foster, Dana Goldberg and Bruce Berman served as executive producers.
The behind-the-scenes creative team included Oscar-winning director of photography Philippe Rousselot (“A River Runs Through It”), marking his fourth collaboration with Jordan, production designer Kristi Zea (“The Departed”), Jordan’s longtime editor Tony Lawson (“Michael Collins,” “The End of the Affair”), costume designer Catherine Thomas (“Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2”) and Oscar-nominated composer Dario Marianelli (“Pride & Prejudice”).
“The Brave One” is a Warner Bros. Pictures presentation, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, of a Silver Pictures Production.
“The Brave One” has been rated R by the MPAA for strong violence, language and some sexuality.
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“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 to the concept of having voiceovers to help understand Erica’s mindset and her feeling about what she was doing. You’re always a little hesitant to use voiceovers in a movie, but her occupation makes it feel completely organic to who she is as a character.”
“It made sense to me, and I think it really informs the movie,” Foster attests. “Erica is somebody who lives in her head. Everything is expressed through her voice so it’s easy for her not to have a sense of her own body. In some ways, her fiancé was her physical identity, so when he is gone, it’s as if she doesn’t have a body anymore. She becomes a voice in the night, almost like a ghost, and the interior voice that we get to hear gives us a glimpse into her soul.”
Neil Jordan relates, “Jodie and I agreed that her character would be a bit sound-obsessed. She travels around the city recording the sounds of the subway and the traffic and the hum of machinery as a way of telling stories of the city. Later that obsession evolves into a different, far more brutal, obsession with the streets.”


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