Jodie Foster, who has just finished directing her first movie, has a tip for young actors: just pretend.

Foster makes her directorial debut in "Little Man Tate," the story of a gifted boy, his mother (portrayed by Foster) and a psychologist who wants to take the boy away to enroll him in college.In it, Foster coached 7-year-old Adam Hann-Byrd through his first movie.

"Just pretend really well," Foster said in Sunday's New York Times Magazine, recalling how she instructed young Adam. "And then think about what that pretending looks like."

"As a director, it's not any different than what I do as an actress," Foster says, "except that I'm allowed to."