Jodie Foster clashes with Leni Riefenstahl over biopic

BY Advocate.com Editors

May 06 2002 11:00 PM ET

MSNBC.com's Jeannette Walls reports that lesbian icon Jodie Foster, who has for years been working toward directing and starring in a film about controversial filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, has had a conflict with Riefenstahl herself. The 99-year-old director, who spent four years in prison for glorifying the Nazis in her films Triumph of the Will and Olympia, had previously given Foster the inside track over other actresses interested in the Riefenstahl story, including Sharon Stone and Madonna. Foster elicited some controversy a few years ago when she told The [London] Daily Telegraph, "I've been interested in Leni for many, many years. She is an extraordinary woman: sharp as a tack and as beautiful as ever."

Now, however, Foster refused to sign contracts that would give Riefenstahl say in the content in the movie, and so the older filmmaker no longer wishes to participate in the project. "At this point, any potential cooperation or collaboration is off," a source tells Walls. "Leni wanted to have a say over what could and couldn't be in the film. Jodie said no way. So now Jodie is going on without her. [Leni] has been complaining that Hollywood is going to distort her life and tell lies about her." A spokesperson for Foster says there was never any intention to give Riefenstahl any control over the film and that plans for the biopic continue apace. "It's still on the drawing boards," he says. "It's in development."

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