Interview (Written): Greta Gerwig
The filmmaker discusses her career and her directing debut ‘Lady Bird’.
An Interview magazine conversation between writer-director Francis Ford Coppola and young filmmaker Greta Gerwig, actor, writer, and now director with the debut of her movie Lady Bird.
COPPOLA: You said something to me in a previous conversation that I thought was very smart — and it’s something I’ve done in my work as well. You said you deliberately — both as an actor and later in your writing and directing — put yourself in a position where accidents are going to happen. Because when you’re dealing with shaky ground, that’s a moment of truth, and whatever happens is probably going to be really honest.
GERWIG: I think being attracted to mistakes is one of the things that film can capture in a way that theater can’t. Film can capture a moment of spontaneous life that will never be captured again. I like a lot of structure and a lot of lines, but then within that I make room for things to happen that you couldn’t have predicted.
COPPOLA: When you made Lady Bird, did you have any time to rehearse before shooting?
GERWIG: Yes. I cast it pretty early, so before we were even in the official rehearsal period, people came to my house and I worked with two or three actors at a time on the scenes. It wasn’t just working with the lines; it was also a lot of talking and investigation. I would have them all dance together, because when I worked with Mike Mills, he had us do that. I found it useful because it makes you less embarrassed of your body and less embarrassed in front of other people, so I stole that from him. And then we had a couple of weeks of more intense rehearsals before we started shooting. I wanted there to be this core of love and understanding with each other that we could work from. It needed to feel like a communal experience, not an individual one.
COPPOLA: I’ve never made a film where I didn’t request two weeks of rehearsal, but I rarely got it. I would get one week.
GERWIG: I also wanted it to feel like every single character in the film mattered, even the ones who only had a couple of scenes. So I had at least one conversation with everyone, where we would talk, and they would give me their ideas, and we’d build something that had a backstory, so that nothing felt sketched. Everything felt full.
Here is an “Anatomy of a Scene” video featuring Gerwig narrating a scene from Lady Bird:
For the rest of the interview with Gerwig and Coppola, go here.
And if all that isn’t enough, A24 is distributing the movie in North America. As far as I’m concerned, they are the gold standard for indie movies.
Go see Lady Bird as it rolls out in more theaters this weekend.d