Jodie Foster acknowledged in a recent interview that even female studio executives see female directors as a risk.
Foster, 48, is an enigma as a female director in the entertainment industry, having secured $20 million for her upcoming tragicomedy "The Beaver," which stars Mel Gibson as a depressed man who uses a beaver puppet to communicate.
"I don't think it's a plot and these guys sat around and said let's keep these women out," Foster told the Los Angeles Times. "I think it's like race psychology. When a producer hires a director, you're hiring away your control completely. You're bringing on somebody that will change everything. When you give that amount of power up, you want them to look like you and talk like you and think like you and it's scary when they don't."
Women account for only seven percent of the directors in the Hollywood film industry and while there are many female studio executives, Foster believes that female directors are seen as a risk. The actress acknowledges that her first directing gig on the 1991 film "Little Man Tate" was not a financial risk, given that she had just won an Oscar for her role in "The Accused" and was already a veteran in the industry.
"And name the lists that come out of the female studio executives: guy, guy, guy, guy," Foster said. "Their job is to be as risk-averse as possible. They see female directors as a risk... The real pioneers are someone that didn't have the 'in' that I had. I had guys who knew me. I was like their daughter."
Foster has continued to defend her friend and co-star Mel Gibson and claims that the actor is the "most beloved professional" in the industry during a recent interview.
"I guess I know him, that's the difference. He's probably the most beloved professional in the film business," Foster told the Seattle-based entertainment website, MyNorthwest.com. "I actually don't know anyone else that's more beloved than him... perhaps Chow Yun-Fat? Chow Yun-Fat's another one. Personally, what I know is a man who's been my friend for fifteen years. He's someone that is complex - that is true. He is full of ideas, intelligent and kind and loyal friend."
Foster also explained the significance of the title of her film and why she chose a beaver over other woodland creatures.
"I suppose it could have been any woodland creature, but beavers are a particularly good one. I mean, they build things and they destroy things and that is a real theme- building and destroying and how we have to blow things up sometimes in order to change."
Foster rose to fame in her 1973 film "Taxi Driver," where she played a teenage prostitute. Since "Little Man Tate," Foster has directed "Home for the Holidays" and "The Beaver." She also has two directorial projects in development, "Cockeyed" and "Flora Plum."
"The Beaver" first aired at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March and is set for a limited release on May 6, 2011.