Ms. Foster, You’re finally directing again! And for Money Monster, your new film about dirty deals on Wall Street, you were able to sign on George Clooney and Julia Roberts. What was it about the project that interested you most?
I thought the story was relevant to our time. Wall Street, and even more importantly, the subject of money concerns all of us. It can even make us crazy at times.
What does money mean to someone like yourself, who is not suffering from poverty?
Money can create so much pain and suffering. But the characters in the movie don’t feel that money is the enemy, and neither do I. It’s a way to express value.
What do you mean?
Many of us are confused about what our values are. Am I worthy to be loved, am I worthy to be remembered because I made so many thousands of dollars? Money is a measurement we put out there to tally up how seemingly successful we are in life. My film does not say that capitalism is wrong. It examines human motivation and how we express ourselves through capitalism.
Is it important to you to make films that provoke discussion?
I enjoy it when people discuss my work. I cherish painting, sculpture and music, but movies have influenced my life more than any other art form, and I hope the same goes for the people who watch my films.
So everyone has a different way of expressing themselves?
That’s right. This is how we say who we are. I don’t think movies will ever be relegated to mere entertainment.
Your film sheds light on the shady business practices engaged in by the financial world …
We look at that world and see a mysterious monster that we do not understand and, I believe, are not supposed to understand. For bankers and other people it’s in their best interest for things to stay this way.
You make it sound like a conspiracy.
Well, there are powers at work that know exactly what they are doing. And more importantly: They know how to make money off all of us.
Your most recent work in television was directing the series Orange is the New Black. Has your approach to filmmaking changed?
I have always made fast films because most of the time I didn’t have enough money to take a long time. I like to be clear in what I am looking for, and I like the pace that television gives you.
Your film addresses the subject of failure. Is it a more interesting subject than success?
It’s easy to be successful and happy. But how do you deal with life when things don’t go the way they should? It’s fascinating to watch people deal with failure.
Directing is the last male bastion in Hollywood
Your success as a director has opened the door for other woman directors. Is this a happy side effect of your work?
The world is changing, and more films are being made by women than ever before. But directing is the last bastion that needs to change for women in Hollywood. I hope that women are not seen now as a hyped category, as if it’s something special to bring a woman on board. Women are just as good and as capable as men.
What is your relationship with Hollywood today?
I’ve been in the business so long and made it through so many changes. I have actually reached many of my goals, something that never ceases to surprise me. I don’t have to worry about what other people think about me so much anymore.
Will you continue to focus on directing, or will we be seeing you in front of the camera again?
I will never stop acting. I miss the part where somebody says “action” and then yells “cut.” I’m not sure I miss celebrity culture and all the rest of it, though.
What are you afraid of today?
Well, I’m not a big fan of snakes. They scare me. Other than that, I’m a pretty rational person with few phobias. I make sure I get rid of my phobias through my movies.
The therapeutic effect of film … Are you more cautious or more relaxed when it comes to being a mother?
I’m pretty relaxed. That’s probably because my own mother was over-cautious. I tend to be the opposite and let too many things go unpunished. But please don’t tell that to my boys (laughs).
Is it true that your mother used to take you to see German films?
Yes, that’s how I got exposed to movies by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Volker Schlöndorff. I was absolutely fascinated and it made me fall in love with movies even more throughout my life.
You are known to be quite a Germany fan. What is it you like so much about Germany?
I’m a big fan of Berlin. The city is so exciting, it’s a real turning wheel for Europe. I have many friends in Germany, and believe it or not, I really like German food.