Jodie Foster wants to be a "good parent" to her actors.

The 48-year-old star - who started acting when she was just three years old - has branched out into directing films and hopes she is a reassuring and encouraging presence on set.

She told Psychologies magazine: "I want to be a good parent who loves them unconditionally, even when they come up with bad ideas and even when they suck.

"There is a way of loving their foolish attempts and guiding them in what you think is the right direction.

"And I do think I have a particular sensitivity towards child actors because of my own experiences. As a child I certainly looked for a parent figure in my directors."

In her latest venture, 'The Beaver', Jodie directed and stars in the film as the wife of Mel Gibson's character, a man on The Edge of Madness who will only communicate with his family via a puppet.

Jodie initially didn't plan to appear in the film, until she realised she had all the qualities she was looking for her in leading actress.

She explained: "I had no intention of acting in this movie but I started thinking, 'Who can I put across from Mel, saying she's going to stand by her man and fight for him - and yet go through this juncture when she realises she's put her children in jeopardy, watching their father lose his mind?' I was sitting and thinking about what actor is going to do that from a place of strength that doesn't feel fake and then I realised it was me."