Create & Cultivate 100: Entertainment: Greta Gerwig


photo credit: Daniel Bergeron

photo credit: Daniel Bergeron

According to the NY Times, Greta Gerwig once peed in her pants during a math test.

The 7th grader was new to the school, didn't know the rules, and instead of risking it, she peed. A puddle forming by her desk. 

It's the exact kind of scene you might have found in her independent box office record breaker Lady Bird, the story of a high schooler, played by Saoirse Ronan, her relationship to her mom, her hometown, and the kids around her. Lady Bird opened to limited audiences its first weekend, showing in four locations. It flew (bird jokes) past typical ticket sales for smaller box office openings of its kind, grossing $375,612 in fourtheaters, with a theater average of $93,903, making it the best speciality box office opening of 2017.

Reason to pee your pants if we've ever heard one.

However, luckily, Greta is now surrounded by praise, not puddles. Nominated for a Golden Globe and SAG Award, the first time director, has taken Hollywood by surprise and excitement. Award-Winning actress Natalie Portman raved that she has been waiting twenty years to see a movie like Lady Bird.

Audiences and critics agree. 

More on Greta's triumph and quirks below.

On a stack of bracelets on her wrist: 

I’m a sucker for anyone who tells me, "It’s a magical stone, and it’s going to keep you safe."

On trying to get funding for Lady Bird:

 What I typically found was that if they had daughters or had been raised with sisters, they understood what it was, and if they didn’t, they kind of couldn’t believe that women actually fought like that, which was an interesting window into why some stories can’t get told. People don’t understand that they’re even a story to tell.

On documenting female stories: 

I didn’t know how many [female filmmakers] there were and I didn’t know how important it was, but even though I didn’t want to make works like that, it sparked something in me and led to me going, "I need to do this.” I think women tend to focus on stories that men don’t have the privilege of seeing, particularly things that are domestic. ‘Jeanne Dielman,’ so much of that movie is static shots of her doing housework. Chantal Akerman said that is the lowest on the totem pole of cinema language; we value the image of a woman doing anything else besides housework. There was something about that intimacy with making dinner or making a bed that was really interesting to me. It felt like there was this whole world left to be explored that had been largely undocumented.

"Sometimes you can get real fixated on going through the front door of the castle, but you don’t always need to."

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On Lady Bird's agency:

I feel like allowing a young woman to experience desires and not just utterly punching them for it is weirdly not that common. Lady Bird is so inside of her own desires and able to be the active person in her own life. She’s not ever waiting to be looked at; she’s the one doing the looking. Even when it’s misguided and even when she messes up and fails, it’s not disallowed.

On going against the grain:

Sometimes you can get real fixated on going through the front door of the castle, but you don’t always need to. You can sometimes go through a side door. Sometimes you don’t even need to go in. You can just set up a camp outside and have your own party. I think more often than not, that’s what it ends up being.

This has been edited and condensed from multiple sources.