Jodie Foster recalls moment on set when a lion ‘shook me in his mouth’

Jodie Foster, who has been acting professionally since childhood, has accumulated many interesting stories from various filming locations.

During a recent appearance on “The Graham Norton Show,” the 61-year-old actress opened up about a horrifying incident that occurred during one of her early projects, “Napolitan and Samantha.”

The film depicts a boy and a girl on a dangerous journey up a mountain with their pet lion, Major, who is a modified circus animal.

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Johnny Whittaker and Jodie Foster walk alongside a lion in the 1972 film Napoleon and Samantha. (FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images)

Foster, who was 9 years old at the time, said there were three big cats on set: a star lion, a stunt lion and a stand-in lion.

“I was working with Lion, the understudy, and I think he was pulling him with a little piano wire,” the “True Detective” actress explained.

“I finished the take and I was walking up the hill. All I remember is seeing his mane come back. Then he lifted me to the side and put me in his mouth. It shook me and turned me around,” she said. much to the horror of her fellow guest Olivia Colman.

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A little boy (Johnny Whittaker) and a little girl (Jodie Foster) sit in a field with a lion in the movie "napoleon and samantha"

Jodie Foster remembers being confused when a lion shook her out of its mouth on set. The shaking was so strong that she thought there might have been an earthquake. (FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images)

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“And all the crew members were running in the opposite direction, so I was looking sideways at everyone – and they took the equipment too!”

“And I saw everyone leaving and I was like, ‘What happened?’…I remember being like, ‘Oh, it’s an earthquake!’ because I was so upset,” she said. added. “The trainer said, ‘Put me down,’ and being a well-trained lion, he opened his mouth and let me go.”

Jodie Foster, wearing a maroon shirt, puts her hands on her chest and looks stoic.

Jodie Foster has revealed that a lion picked her up in its mouth while filming Napoleon and Samantha. (Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images)


“And I went running,” Foster said, gesturing as if she were rolling down a hill. Even though Lion was trained, he wasn’t done with Foster. “And he came after me and put one of his paws on top of me and was like, ‘I’ve got you!'” she said of the cat’s final actions.

The film, which also starred Johnny Whittaker and Michael Douglas, was released in 1972.



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