Greta Gerwig is nothing if not busy. The actress, who shot to indie fame via her work in the 'mumblecore' movement by collaborating with the likes of the Duplass Brothers, Ti West and Joe Swanberg, is back in select theaters this Friday headlining the Fox Searchlight romantic comedy "Lola Versus," a mere two months after seeing her last film, Whit Stilman's "Damsels in Distress," open theatrically. She'll be back later this month with a supporting role in Woody Allen's follow-up to "Midnight in Paris" (the biggest hit of his career), "To Rome With Love," in which she stars alongside a starry ensemble that includes Peneleope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg. And last fall Gerwig found time to shoot and wrap her untitled directorial debut (which she also wrote and stars in), meaning it will probably see the light of day at a festival this year or next.
In "Lola Versus," Gerwig tackles the biggest role of her three films opening this season, as the titular New Yorker who on the verge of turning 30, is dumped unceremoniously by her fiance. The film marks the sophomore feature for writing duo (and real-life couple) Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones, who first collaborated together on "Breaking Upwards," another breakup comedy. Wein directs "Lola Versus," while Lister-Jones (best known for her work on NBC's series "Whitney") co-stars as Gerwig's quirky best friend.
Indiewire sat down with Gerwig in Manhattan to discuss her recent slate of projects, and what it was like auditioning for Woody Allen.
This spring/summer alone you're opening three of your highest profile films to date. Are you fearful of being overexposed?
No. I'm not in a position where I feel overexposed. It's not like the combination of a Woody Allen Film, a Fox Searchlight film, and a Whit Stillman movie is the same thing as being in "Transformers" and something else crazy. Maybe to a certain audience I've become overexposed, but in general it doesn't feel like that to me. But I suppose you never really know what's going on. You just get the results.
Did you shoot all three back to back?
No, I had a big break between "Damsels" and "Lola." But I did shoot "Lola" and Woody back to back.
About "Lola" -- have you ever experienced heartbreak on that scale? You convey it so palpably.
Oh! I think the biggest heartbreak I ever experienced was when I was actually much younger, when I was coming out of high school going into college. That was this role, full-body, crazy heartbreak. I didn't specifically relate it to that, but I was destroyed by it. The emotions you can feel at 18 are unlike emotions that you feel until something like this happens to you. I think they're so all encompassing. I have not had something this traumatic happen, but I certainly can empathize with it.
I was! [Pauses.] I was going to launch into a story, but then I decided against it. But yeah, I have dated a lot of gay guys. I love them. They're good boyfriends in lots of ways. And, I don't know, if you like the chase there's always something to chase there [laughs]. They really cannot be pinned down [laughs]. Not by me, that's for sure.
So going from Violet in "Damsels" to playing Lola, it's interesting to note that both experience severe heartbreak in each film. Their journeys both take off after hitting an all-time low in their lives. Did you see the similarities between the two women; were you wary of going down a similar path so soon after wrapping "Damsels"?
No, they're so different. They kind of seemed like night and day to me -- the way the characters felt and the way the characters dealt with things. I suppose there are some similarities but it just seemed they existed on different planets. So I didn't have any fear that, oh this is already tread territory. I think a lot of movies you end up doing do have similar territory in some ways, and it's up to you to find the thing about them that makes unique, different and special. You don't always have control over what parts you play. But with these, they just seemed wildly different.