Jodie Foster Called Out Hollywood in 1991 for Not Being ‘Kind to Women’ Directors: I ‘Never Thought’ a Film Like ‘Barbie’ Was ‘Going to Happen’

Jodie Foster graced the cover of Time magazine in 1991 when she was 28 years old and set to direct her first feature, “Little Man Tate.” She said at the time that “this is not a business that is kind to women” who aspire to be directors, but her tune has changed 32 years later.

“Sometimes I read things I said in my 20s and I’m like, really? But that’s a pretty good one,” she recently told Time in 2023 during an interview for her role on HBO’s “True Detective: Night Country.”

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“When I was young, there were really no American women directors, maybe a few,” she said. “I didn’t think I was allowed to be a director. And that’s not true anymore. I couldn’t be prouder to have watched Greta Gerwig this year with ‘Barbie.’ Not only was this wonderful director recognized, but it was because there were people behind her saying, ‘You’re not a risk.’ I never thought that was going to happen. So there’s just a big smile on my face.”

“Barbie” became the highest-grossing movie of 2023 with $1.4 billion in worldwide ticket sales. That number also made it the highest-grossing movie in Warner Bros.’ history. It’s a reality Foster could’ve never predicted when she directed “Little Man Tate,” in which she also starred. The film was scripted by Scott Frank and centered on a seven-year-old child prodigy. It grossed $25 million — well over its $10 million production budget — marking the first of several Foster-directed features, including “The Beaver” (2011) and “Money Monster” (2016). Her television work is more expensive as the director of episodes of “House of Cards,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “Black Mirror.”

While the rise of female directors is a welcome trend for Foster, the rise of comic book movies is not. During an interview with Elle magazine at the end of last year, Foster went viral for expressing her criticisms with superhero films.

“It’s a phase. It’s a phase that’s lasted a little too long for me, but it’s a phase. And I’ve seen so many different phases,” Foster said. “Hopefully people will be sick of it soon. The good ones — like ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Black Panther,’ ‘The Matrix’ — I marvel at those movies, and I’m swept up in the entertainment of it, but that’s not why I became an actor. And those movies don’t change my life. Hopefully, there’ll be room for everything else.”

Foster is currently in the Oscar race for supporting actress thanks to “Nyad,” which is now streaming on Netflix. She’s also headlining HBO’s “True Detective: Night Country,” which debuted its premiere episode to 2 million viewers on HBO and Max.

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