Greta Gerwig: 'Frances Ha' Interview! (Exclusive)
Check out our brand new interview with Frances Ha writer and star Greta Gerwig!
The 29-year-old actress co-wrote the coming of age indie with Noah Baumbach, who also directed the flick which is in theaters now!
Frances Ha tells the story of a New York woman who bounces around from apartment to apartment, apprentices for a dance company, and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possible reality dwindles.
Greta chatted with JustJared.com about her writing process, whether or not Frances was inspired by any of her own real life moments, and her cosmic connection with Woody Allen!
Click inside to check out our interview with Greta Gerwig…
JustJared.com Interview – Greta Gerwig
JustJared: Is Frances Ha inspired by any real life coming of age moments of your own?
Greta Gerwig: I mean there’s definitely a lot in the film that I took as a writer and an actress from my own life, or from lives I’ve observed, and Noah had a lot of his life in it. But it’s a fictional character in a totally fictional world, so even though there are things that are similar it ultimately feels like it’s its own thing.
JJ: You play a dancer in the film – do you have a history with dance?
GG: Yes, I have a background in dance. Mostly ballet, but then I did a lot of modern in college. I knew a lot of dancers in college because my college had a pretty good modern dance program. I had always wanted to write about a dancer, even though I have never been a professional dancer by any stretch of the imagination. It’s always something that I’ve loved and wanted to write about.
JJ: What made you decide to make the film in black and white?
GG: It wasn’t something that we intellectualized until after making the decision. It was something Noah Baumbach had as an impulse when he initially thought about making the film, and I thought it was exactly right. We continued to talk about it as we were writing. They did a lot of tests to make sure they could make it the kind of rich black and white in the film, kind of warm and has a lot of feeling. It also had a quality of instant melancholy which seemed to echo the story.
JJ: Frances Ha is a beautiful portrait of New York City – did you always intend for the story to be told there?
GG: Both of us live in New York, we love New York, and it was really one of those things where I can’t imagine it being anywhere else. We have such a different experience of the city, but such a shared loved of the city. It was just part of it from the beginning.
JJ: This is your third time working with Noah. Do you sit down plan to create something new together, or does it happen more organically now?
GG: It was really Noah who e-mailed me and asked if I would be interested in working on a film with him. To write something and to create something that I could act in, maybe. That was what really started the process of what ideas we had and what seemed worth fulfilling.
JJ: When you’re writing a screenplay, what’s your process like?
GG: It’s a long process. We don’t do any improvisation, so it needs to be as perfect as it possibly can be on the page before we go to shoot. It just means that we take a lot of care with the words and the rhythm and how it sounds, because we know that we’re going to be working from that. Most of it we wrote entirely separately, and then we would exchange scenes as we were writing them and get feedback and then we would re-write together. It’s a long process of writing scenes and moments and looking for the stories that exist underneath it. So, as opposed to writing a story and then dictating what the story is, it’s more like writing the scenes and then saying, okay, now what’s underneath this?
JJ: What do you think is really the defining moment of adulthood for twenty-somethings today?
GG: Getting health insurance. I think that’s such a huge deal! I remember not having it, and it was really, really scary.
JJ: You have a bunch of different roommates in the film – did you ever have any in real life?
GG: I did! I had a lot of different roommates, I’ve had many, many different roommates throughout college and after college. I really loved living with people, I actually think it was really fun. It wasn’t something that I felt like I needed to let go of, it was something that the world sort of did for me at some point.
JJ: What would you say your worst roommate experience was?
GG: I’ve only had good ones, I think. I know that’s so lame, but really I’ve only had good ones.
JJ: Who is someone you haven’t worked with that you would like to in the future?
GG: There are literally so many people. I think my number one person is Mike Lee, he’s a British filmmaker. I would love to make a film with him. He makes my favorite films. That would be the number one.
JJ: What movies inspired you to get into film making?
GG: Woody Allen movies. Woody Allen movies were really the first thing that made me want to do it. I mean, I loved other movies beforehand, but the Woody Allen ones were the first ones that felt like I had a kind of cosmic connection to in some way. I felt like he was making movies about me, even though he wasn’t and he didn’t even know who I was. Even though it was totally removed by time and space, I felt just utterly connected to them.
JJ: What’s the best part about making independent films?
GG: The authorship that independent film provides. Obviously there are studio films that have a real creator behind them, but sometimes they can dissolve into groups and have decisions by committee. I really love the personality behind indie films. There’s a real creator behind them and a mind behind them and not just a corporation.
JJ: And the worst part?
GG: You never have enough time. We gave ourselves a lot of time on this movie. We had fifty shooting days, which is more than twice as much as you get on most indies. I think that was how we were trying to fix what we didn’t like about indies in this movie, was giving ourselves the freedom to have like fifty days of shooting.