Greta Gerwig, Accidental Movie Star 

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It’s. I suppose, analogous to pretty much anything that people in our age bracket are experiencing in whatever field they’re in, by now.
Or it’s creepy when you realize that people I went to college with are now out of medical school, or out of law school. And it’s like, “She’s my fucking doctor? I did E with her at four in the morning on a roof!” But now they’re becoming the people… There’s this Joseph Conrad novella called The Shadow Line, it’s about being 27, when you cross this “shadow line,” from boyhood into manhood, It’s about this guy who takes over a ship when the captain dies, and stuff happens, and he’s all of a sudden given, he’s become the captain of the ship, and it’s happened in a second, and he realizes he’s crossed the shadow line, and now he can’t go back. It’s great, it’s not that long, but it’s so good, it’s so good, and it ends with him talking to all these old sailors—or it’s framed so he’s telling the story of when he was 27, and he’s old now. And old in Joseph Conrad stories is, like, 50. It’s so sad, it’s so sad, and he’s talking about being young and he sort of says, like, none of us knew that was going to be the happiest we ever were.

I went back and reread an interview you did with Lena Dunham where you talked about wanting to work with Woody Allen, about how he “had an erotic renaissance with Scarlet Johannsson and he can have a neurotic renaissance with” you.
I guess I did say that.

And I was wondering, now, how it came about? And how the experience was, in comparison to what you expected.
I think if you had a moment that you’ve been anticipating and can’t believe that it’s happening and you’ve been building up your whole life, you almost can’t experience it while it’s happening, so it was amazing, but it also had a very dreamlike quality and I also feel like I want to do it again. I want to go back and do it again, I want him to make another movie... I had a great part, but it was also very much an ensemble and I wanted to spend 24 hours a day with him. I think it’s always a struggle to be present in your own life while it’s happening, especially while good things are happening—but yeah I watched the documentary about him a couple of months later and I didn’t feel like I had had that experience, it still felt removed to me. Maybe if I see the movie, it’ll feel like that.

As a director, is he particularly—not demanding, but specific?
Yeah, he’s specific. It’s funny, people always say he doesn’t direct, but he really does direct, in my experience. He gives you freedom with the words—oh my gosh, doesn’t that dessert look really good? I might get it—he says, “Oh, say whatever you want to say,” but he’s looking for a sound, I think he’s looking for something that sounds naturalistic to him. He’ll push it until he hears what he wants, which is, you know, that’s what good directors do.

That’s interesting because you see a lot of sort of open-ended takes where there’s enormous of variety in terms of style or vocal mannerism. It seems like an interesting contrast between him having very specific standards and the results on screen often looking very relaxed.
It’s pretty amazing to me that still makes a film a year. It’s odd that—I think that there’s two different kinds of actors, I think there are actors who fell in love with acting, and I think there are actors who feel in love with writing. And I think I’m an actress who fell in love with writing more than even acting, and with Woody Allen and other people… I love participating in them, as writers. But the same time, part of me, I think that’s why I write too. Part of me is like, “Was I responding to wanting to be them, or be part of them? Did I want to have my own experience of doing that do I want to be part of their experience of doing it?”


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