Jodie Foster Changed One Silence of the Lambs Scene to Show Clarice Starling Was Not “the Action Guy”


  • Jodie Foster’s portrayal of Clarice Starling in The Silence of The Lambs is her most iconic role.
  • Foster’s ability to play Starling as more than just a typical FBI agent contributed to her success.
  • Foster suggested making Starling look scared in a disturbing scene, showcasing her vulnerability and power simultaneously.

Despite having an extensive resume of roles, Jodie Foster’s role as Clarice Starling in The Silence of The Lambs is still her most iconic. While the Starling has been portrayed by others, including Julianne Moore in the sequel Hannibal, and Rebecca Breeds in the short-lived TV series Clarice, Foster’s Oscar-winning appearance was one that has never been bettered, and most of that success came down to Foster’s ability to play the FBI agent as more than just another run-of-the-mill law enforcer.

Silence of the Lambs

Release Date
February 1, 1991



Thomas Harris , Ted Tally

In a recent in depth interview with Variety ahead of the release of her latest project, True Detective: Night Country, Foster was asked specifically about one disturbing scene in The Silence of the Lambs that shows a more vulnerable side to Starling, and plays against the impression of a tough FBI agent. Towards the end of the movie, Starling finds herself in the “lair” of killer Buffalo Bill, fumbling in the dark and visibly disturbed as she attempts to save herself and Bill’s latest potential victim. According to Foster, the idea of making Starling look scared was something she suggested. She said:

It was my idea. That felt right to me. There was something unexpected about Clarice – that she was able to have power, but was so vulnerable and had that smallness. She recognized that she wasn’t powerful physically, and it didn’t occur to me that there was anything revolutionary about that. You’re playing somebody who could be what we see as a male character – the action guy. But she’s not; she’s Clarice.

Related: Jodie Foster’s 10 Greatest Performances of All Time

Jodie Foster Returns to Playing Detective in Night Country

Kali Reis and Jodie Foster hold flashlights in the night in True Detective season four, Night Country

From her childhood roles in Bugsy Malone and Taxi Driver to searching for aliens in Contact, Jodie Foster has covered many genres in her five decade career, but it is her return to the crime genre that currently has everyone talking.

True Detective: Night Country sees the return of the anthology series that has failed to reach the heights of its debut season back in 2014. However, this fourth season has seen the franchise reaching new heights, with critics giving it a perfect 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes from 28 reviews, beating the first season’s 80% Tomatometer result.

Foster plays Liz Danvers, the chief of police in an isolated town in the north of Alaska. The series begins on the eve of permanent night, when the town spends two months in darkness, and finds Danvers and her Indigenous sidekick Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) investigating the mysterious disappearance of scientists at a research station. With a mix of drama, humor, and a touch of the supernatural, Night Country is the perfect vehicle for Foster, and that has been proved by the rave reviews ahead of its premiere.

True Detective: Night Country makes its debut on HBO on January 14, 2024.


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