December 23, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

Jodie Foster made our 2005 Entertainers of the Year list

Jodie Foster is about to say something incredibly sacrilegious. So the Yale-educated, two-time Oscar winner has wisely decided to step back for a second and qualify her whopper of a statement. ”I hope you take this the right way because I don’t want to sound bratty,” she begins. ”But I wasn’t born to be an actor.”

Legions of fans who’ve followed her four-decade career — Foster gasps when she realizes that it’s been that long — would surely disagree. They lined up again last September for her latest, the tense thriller Flightplan, which follows a recently widowed mom whose daughter mysteriously vanishes during a transatlantic flight aboard the world’s most tricked-out passenger plane. This despite a recent three-year absence — tantamount to a lifetime in Hollywood’s eyes — that is usually a career killer. What’s more, Foster was the only actress to carry an entire film by herself and lead it to box office success in 2005, no small feat considering the next humdinger she unloads.

”The script wasn’t perfect and it’s not highbrow,” she admits of Flightplan, ”but I really related to it. And when you find that in a script, you have to listen.” Especially since it happens with increasing rarity for the 43-year-old, who says she’s ”constantly reading” them but has trouble finding any that can tear her from sons Charlie, 7, and Kit, 4. ”I’m not a big workaholic,” she says. ”I always knew that I would slow down. It’s a reaction to getting older and having kids. That’s a big thing. It’s hard to take myself out of this significant life to do something else.”

But she does — on her own terms, of course. She plays a tough lawyer in March’s Spike Lee-helmed Inside Man and will soon direct the slave-labor drama Sugarland. Her other big plan for the coming year? ”To lighten my life,” she sighs. ”As you get older, life becomes…hard, heavy, intense.” Oh, really? It would seem that she pretty much has it all, we tell her. And with a laugh, out comes exactly the kind of knowing bon mot that’s become the beloved actress’ specialty. ”I feel like I have too much, to tell you the truth.”

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