Jodie Foster’s focus on directing previews major changes for women in Hollywood


Jodie Foster will be directing more, and that’s good news for women in Hollywood.

When Jodie Foster recently appeared on Conan, she revealed the exciting news that she’ll be devoting “90 percent of her time to directing.”

The Oscar-winning actress, known for her roles in iconic films including The Silence of the Lambs, is also an acclaimed director. Her credits include feature films like Little Man Tate and Home for the Holidays, and some of the most powerful episodes on television: Orange is the New Black’s “Lesbian Request Denied” and Black Mirror’s “Arkangel.”

Who knew that the Coppertone girl at three-years-old would grow up to be one of the most powerful women in Hollywood?

In a recent YouTube breakdown of her career, narrated by Foster herself, she shared some of the background behind each of her projects. Throughout, there is a common theme: when she’s seen a role she wants or a script she’d like to direct, Foster has beaten down doors to get it.

Imagine, someone like Jodie Foster having to beat down doors for roles and directing gigs, even after she’d won her first Oscar for The Accused. This just underscores the challenges faced by women in Hollywood, particularly behind the camera.

According to The Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film, last year, women made up only 11% of directors. This lack of gender parity isn’t lost on Foster, who participated in a roundtable discussion of female directors for Variety. The discussion included directors like Helen Hunt (Splitting Up Together) and Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish). For Foster, it wasn’t about not hiring female crew members; it was about working with people she already knew.

Foster said:

"As a director it never occurred to me to seek out women crew members. I sought out the guys that I worked with, the guys that I knew that I thought were doing great work. I’m almost ashamed of that, until recently where I realized that we actually do have to make an effort."

All of the women talked about the importance of opening doors for the next generation, mentoring other women to follow them.

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For someone with a storied 52-year career in Hollywood, Foster’s switch to focus on directing could spell real change ahead. It will take influential women like her and others to bring more women into traditionally male-dominated jobs. And that’s good news for everyone.