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Jodie Foster says generation Z can be ‘really annoying’ to work with

In a Guardian interview, the actor also shares her admiration for Bella Ramsey and says she has challenged her son’s behaviour towards women

Jodie Foster said helping young female actors navigate the often difficult waters she had already sailed was important to her.

Jodie Foster says she sometimes finds generation Z “really annoying” but she hopes she can help budding stars find their own path to help them “learn how to relax”.

In an interview with the Guardian, the actor admitted she had found the attitudes to work she had encountered difficult to understand.

“They’re really annoying, especially in the workplace,” Foster joked. “They’re like: ‘Nah, I’m not feeling it today, I’m gonna come in at 10.30am.’ Or in emails, I’ll tell them: this is all grammatically incorrect, did you not check your spelling? And they’re like: ‘Why would I do that, isn’t that kind of limiting?’”

Foster has arguably earned the right to tell it how she sees it. By the time she was nominated for an Oscar for her depiction of a victim of child sexual abuse in Martin Scorsese’s 1976 film Taxi Driver at the age of 14, she had made more movies than the director had.

After making films for more than five decades, helping young female actors navigate the often difficult waters she had already sailed was important to her, she said.

Asked what she thought young people in the industry needed to hear, Foster said: “They need to learn how to relax, how to not think about it so much, how to come up with something that’s theirs. I can help them find that, which is so much more fun than being, with all the pressure behind it, the protagonist of the story.”

In the interview, she revealed she had made a particular effort to get in touch with Bella Ramsey, the 20-year-old non-binary actor who starred in The Last of Us and played the role of the young noblewoman Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones.

At Foster’s request, the pair met at the Elle magazine Women in Hollywood celebration in November. “I reached out to Bella, because we’d never met, and said: ‘I want you to introduce me at this thing,’ which is a wonderful event about actors and people in the movies, but is also very much a fashion thing. Which means it’s determining who represents us.”

Foster said the event’s organisers were “very proud of themselves because they’ve got every ethnicity, and I’m like: yeah, but all the attendees are still wearing heels and eyelashes”.

She said Ramsey was a good example of an actor emerging in a new “vector of authenticity”. “Bella, who gave the best speech, was wearing the most perfect suit, beautifully tailored, and a middle parting and no makeup.”

Foster revealed how she had also challenged pervading gender stereotypes in her own family. Talking about raising her children, whom she had with her former partner Cydney Bernard, and now raises with her wife, Alexandra Hedison, she said: “There was a moment with my older one when he was in high school, when, because he was raised by two women – three women – it was like he was trying to figure out what it was to be a boy.

“And he watched television and came to the conclusion: oh, I just need to be an asshole. I understand. I need to be shitty to women and act like I’m a fucker.

“And I was like: ‘No. That’s not what it is to be a man! That’s what our culture has been selling you for all this time.’”


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