Working with Gen Z Can Be “Really Annoying”

Jodie Foster is one of the most-celebrated former-child stars of the modern era, so it’s no wonder that she spends quite a bit of time thinking about the experiences of young actors who are just beginning to hit the scene. Now, in a new interview, she’s shared some of her thoughts regarding the ascendant Generation Z, revealing that, though she admires their yearning for “authenticity,” she feels that they need to “learn how to relax” and can be “really annoying, especially in the workplace.”

The comments come in a new interview with The Guardian, throughout which Foster discusses her 2023 film, Nyad, and touches on the journey of aging as a woman in Hollywood. When the subject of younger actors is brought up, Foster is asked what her advice would be. She replied: “They need to learn how to relax, how to not think about it so much, how to come up with something that’s theirs.”

Continuing, she noted that she is grateful for opportunities to serve as a mentor. “I can help [actors from Gen Z] find that, which is so much more fun than being, with all the pressure behind it, the protagonist of the story,” she said.

Her desire to help struggling young folks established, Foster didn’t hold back on her criticism for the new generation. “They’re really annoying, especially in the workplace,” she said. “They’re like, ‘Nah, I’m not feeling it today, I’m gonna come in at 10.30 a.m.’ Or, like, 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?’”

One member of Gen Z safe from Foster’s blanketed critique, though, is Bella Ramsey, the 20-year-old star of The Last of Us. Last month, Ramsey introduced Foster at a Women in Hollywood celebration sponsored by Elle magazine, which Foster herself requested. “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,” she said.

The “fashion thing” part of the event, though, added some complexity, according to Foster. “It’s determining who represents us,” she said. “[The organizers] are 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. [But] there are other ways of being a woman, and it’s really important for people to see that.”

Ramsey — who identifies as non-binary — changed the narrative a bit. “Bella, who gave the best speech, was wearing the most perfect suit, beautifully tailored, and a middle parting and no makeup,” Foster said.

When asked if Foster could’ve done something similar during her youth, she replied flatly: “No.” Continuing, she explained, “Because we weren’t free… we didn’t have freedom. And hopefully that’s what the vector of authenticity that’s happening offers – the possibility of real freedom. We had other things that were good. And I would say: I did the best I could for my generation. I was very busy understanding where I fitted in and where I wanted to be in terms of feminism. But my lens wasn’t wide enough. I lived in an incredibly segregated world.”

Read the full interview with Foster here.

Other than Nyad, Foster stars in True Detective: Night Country, which was described by Consequence’s Clint Worthington as the “first great season of television” of 2024 in his review.

Ramsey, meanwhile, will appear in the forthcoming Chicken Run sequel, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget.

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