Jodie Foster claims before ‘Barbie,’ women directors were a ‘risk’ in Hollywood

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Women directors were seen as a “risk” prior to the success of the “Barbie” movie, according to Academy Award-winning actress Jodie Foster.

Speaking with Variety on Friday, Foster praised the $1.4 billion success of the blockbuster film, claiming that this was “new” for female directors.

“I’ve had the beauty of being able to be in the business since the ‘60’s, ‘70’s, ’80s, ’90s and so on,” Foster said. “The progression or bettering of our audiences translates into a kind of new thinking about who our marginalized voices are. In the old days, they saw women as a risk. Not sure why they saw us as a risk — 50% of the population! That thinking has changed now.”

She continued, “With a big success like ‘Barbie,’ they gave Greta Gerwig, who had made two mostly independent films, they gave her the keys to the kingdom and said ‘We’re going to give you our most important child’ and all the money to support it. That’s new for women. I hope that continues.” 

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Elsewhere in the interview, Foster touted the value of representation behind the scenes.

“This year we saw a lot of representation, which is important but it’s not enough just to see faces,” Foster said. “For Native Americans, for example, we saw a lot of representation but not a lot of centered stories. The person telling the story wasn’t the point of view. My show ‘True Detective’ takes us to the next level of talking about Native issues from a Native perspective.”

Margot Robbie on right and Greta Gerwig on left

Foster herself has directed two films. One film, 2016’s “Money Monster,” was a box office success. Female directors Jane Campion and Chloé Zhao also previously won Academy Awards for Best Director for 2021’s “The Power of the Dog” and 2020’s “Nomadland,” respectively.

Regarding the box office, though, “Barbie’s” billion-dollar success was unique for a single female director. “Frozen,” “Frozen II” and “Captain Marvel” have all grossed over $1 billion with a female co-director. Other films such as “Wonder Woman,” “Mamma Mia!” and “Fifty Shades of Grey” have also received massive success while being helmed by a solo woman director.

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On the acting side, Foster confessed to giving “almost entirely maternal advice” to up-and-coming actresses for protection back in December.

Jodie Foster holding Oscars

“I find myself reaching out to girls who could be my daughters and saying, ‘Wait a minute, you keep doing dumb things on publicity tours. What’s going on with you? This is a little self-sabotage. You know better than that. Who’s letting you do that? And where’s your mom?’” Foster said.

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