Article: Fostering a new image


David Foster


Festivalgoers get up-close-and-personal peek into the life of Victoria-raised Grammy-winning musician

Michael D. Reid, Times Colonist
Published: Monday, February 05, 2007

Scoops and surprises, cheers and tears, true confessions and a megadose of self-mockery marked a highlight of the 13th annual Victoria Independent Film and Video Festival’s opening weekend: Saturday’s An Evening with David Foster.

“I think David discovered something about himself last night,” the Grammy Award-winning musician’s first ex-wife, singer-songwriter B.J. Cook, observed yesterday. She hit the nail on the head. This was Foster like you’ve never seen him before.

Mercilessly poking fun at himself as he breezed through clips from movies he has scored or written songs for, Foster — with an assist from actor-TV personality Terry David Mulligan — captivated a full house at the Victoria Conference Centre with anecdotes, off-colour remarks and quick wit suggesting he could reinvent himself as a talk show host.

“He kills her in the movie, you know,” Foster jokingly warned the crowd after showing a clip from Lipstick in which Mariel Hemingway winces at the sound of grating synthesizer music composed by Foster, which he passed off as the creation of her homicidal male admirer. “Let that be a lesson to all of you who don’t like my music.”

Tripping down memory lane through 30 years of his movie music, it was amazing to see how much Foster has done on film as clips rolled by from Summer Lovers, Sleepless in Seattle, Moulin Rouge and dozens of other flicks.

“It’s not that I’m that into myself,” he joked before rolling footage of his early years, narrated by none other than Michael Caine. While the slickness was expected from a guy who never does anything halfway, what did come as a surprise was his looseness, irreverence and off-colour humour, and apparent relief at being liberated from the decorum of fundraisers.

“It’s awful in every way,” said Foster of Two of a Kind before running a video of his duet with Olivia Newton-John.

He took great delight in showing footage of a duet with Barbra Streisand, especially the part where the superstar diva says: “David, I love your voice.”

Seated at his grand piano, Foster marvelled at the unexpected outcome of some of his hits.

On The Prayer, sung by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli in Quest for Camelot: “It gets played at weddings and funerals. Go figure.”

Of Got To Be Real, co-written and recorded by Cheryl Lynn and featured in eight movies including Postcards From the Edge, he quipped: “It’s kept my first wife alive. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

Typical of the “anything goes” atmosphere was that it was also open season on Foster’s personal life.

Deadpanned Mulligan, who cancelled an interview with Jim Carrey in Los Angeles to be here: “How many of you out there have been married to David Foster?”

Although he was clearly joking, Foster also stunned the crowd by saying he had his third ex-wife killed.

He later delivered proof in a forgotten clip from The Bodyguard, in which a sniper targeting Whitney Huston’s character opens fire during the Oscar ceremonies. The bullet speeds toward a shrieking blonde — Linda Thompson in a cameo.

“I had lots of fun with that in the editing room,” joked Foster, who also poked fun at everything from kissing scenes to John Travolta’s studly gait in Urban Cowboy.

The Foster showcase yielded loads of movie trivia, like Mulligan’s recollection that hats given to the media on the junket for Made in America were “made in China.”

Insisting he doesn’t really like scoring movies, Foster said he can’t help himself.

“I wake up every morning looking for a new challenge — or a fourth wife,” joked Foster, who was accompanied to the festival by his blonde Dutch girlfriend Yolanda, a statuesque stunner and former model.

When he invited an audience member to come up and find out how he could enhance their sound, a familiar face scrambled onto the stage: local jazz diva Maria Manna.

When she asked to sing a cappella, the dumbfounded composer replied: “Yeah, why would you want me to play for you?”

The night’s biggest surprise was when the three-time Oscar nominee played a low-key, breathtakingly beautiful instrumental for an upcoming blockbuster he co-wrote with timber tycoon Tim Blixseth, who flew up from Mexico.

“Maybe Tim will lead me to the altar of the Oscars,” said Foster, who also revealed he will do music for the 2010 Olympics.

After paying tribute to wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen, he also rolled footage and broke the news that a movie about Hansen’s world tour — Heart of a Dragon — was finally being made by writer-producer Michael French.

Said Foster: “It’s a story that needs to be told.”

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