We recently had the good fortune to speak with filmmaker Noah Baumbach as he starts the long, winding road of press for the upcoming release of his latest film, the sublime black-and-white character piece and uproarious comedy “Frances Ha,” starring Greta Gerwig (who also co-wrote the screenplay with Baumbach). During our interview, which we’ll post in full closer to the film’s release date, “The Squid and the Whale” director, who shot ‘Frances’ on the quick and quiet (hardly anyone knew it even existed until it premiered at the Telluride Film Festival last year), dished on some of his upcoming projects and it seems he’s hitting a prolific stride.
Though he claims he didn’t set out to keep ‘Frances’ a secret, he did mention it was a “bonus” that nothing about it appeared online during the production. Regardless of Baumbach’s motives, he seems quite taken with this approach to film-making, as it was near impossible to get even a morsel out of him when asked about his apparent new secretive film, which quietly geared up late last year. “I can’t say anything about what I’m doing right now,” Baumbach said, staying cagey about what he’s currently got cooking. But he did let us know he’s going to make a new film in the fall.
In development for a while now and having seen James Franco, Cate Blanchett, Jesse Eisenberg and Naomi Watts circle roles, “While We’re Young” will still see the participation of long-attached lead, Ben Stiller. “We’re still making deals with [other] actors right now,” he said about that film. “But soon I can tell you, I can’t yet just in case things don’t work out.” There aren’t many details on it just yet, but the comedy will tell the story of a Brooklynite twenty-something couple who inspire an older, uptight documentarian and his wife to loosen up.
“At one point, I thought I was going to make it first and then things didn’t come together so I made ‘Frances’ in the meantime, but it’s coming back together in a really great way,” Baumbach added about the project
While we did get this little nugget of concrete info from Baumbach regarding “While We’re Young,” it’s still that secretive film that has us abuzz around The Playlist water cooler. One thing’s for sure, “Frances Ha” is one of the Baumbach’s best films and perhaps sees the filmmaker turning over a slightly different leaf in his cinematic interests, following a lead character who, despite her classic Baumbach-ian stasis in life, is a much more sympathetic, less-prickly person the audience will no doubt enjoy following onscreen. In our review from Telluride last year, we noted that for Baumbach “it marks an exciting new period in the filmmaker’s oeuvre and one that will hopefully yield many more collaborations with the endearing and charming Greta Gerwig… The alchemy between them has produced a seriously funny, sad and engaging dramedy and it’s one of Baumbach’s best efforts to date.”
“Frances Ha” opens in limited release May 17th, courtesy of IFC Films. Watch the trailer below.