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'Lola Versus' Star Greta Gerwig On Working for Woody Allen, Dating Gay Men and What She and Parker Posey Have in Common

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire June 6, 2012 at 11:09AM

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.
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So given the fact that you knew his hiring method going into the audition process, what was going through your mind as he kept the process going on longer than usual?

Well I just thought, this definitely means I didn't get hired. It was two part thing. The first time I had a two second thing. And then the second time I came in for a longer audition. I did think a lot about what I was going to wear, because I thought if Woody Allen is going to look at your for two seconds, what do you wear? I think I ended up wearing a plaid shirt and penny loafers, which I think was totally weird, but I thought maybe I'd just try to be myself, and not second guess what it is I think he wants. How could you ever know that? And then I wore the same thing for the call back because I didn't want to jinx it. Maybe he liked the outfit? I'm not sure.

But yeah making the movie was really exciting but very scary. It definitely felt like jumping into a frozen lake.

"To Rome With Love"
Sony Classics "To Rome With Love"
He works with a lot of actors for a second, third time. This film finds him working with a lot of newcomers to his world, folks like Jesse Eisenbeg and Ellen Page. Did you three bond together?

Yeah. I mean Alec Baldwin who I acted with in this, he'd been in a Woody Allen movie before. He's Alec Baldwin, so he's suave and awesome as always. But I think without putting words in their mouth, I think Ellen, Jesse and I were nervous. We all had a little trepidation working for Woody. On the first day we were just wildly nervous. He'd walk over and give us direction and we'd be like, that's Woody Allen and he just told us to do it better. That was really exciting and fun. It was nice to be together for that, otherwise it could have been an isolating experience.

It was amazing for us. It was a really fun shoot, and it's a really funny script. It feels like vintage Woody, and that's exciting. But also shooting in Rome was beautiful. And the Italian schedule is very laid back. We would have very long lunches. The driver who drove me, Jesse and Ellen was named Spartacus, which was a completely exciting name. And Spartacus would go out to lunch with us all the time, so it was the three of us and Spartacus, and we'd go to these restaurants in the middle of the day. It was so laid back. It was this dream job. I've never had more fun on a movie ever. If it had lasted all year I would have been very happy. I wish it was a television show [laughs].

Speaking of great names, is Greta Gerwig your real name?

Yeah, Greta Gerwig is my real name. My mom likes alliteration and my dad's name is Gordon Gerwig, so she wanted a G name for me and so I'm Greta Gerwig.

You lucked out.

I know I did.

It also screams indie film for some reason. Maybe it just sounds quirky, maybe I'm completely daft.

Me and Parker Posey. Alliteration -- that's what's up. But Marilyn Monroe, alliteration, not indie film queen.

Maybe she could have been.

Yeah, you never know. I feel she really wanted to do crazy stuff.

'Lola Versus' Screening in New York

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'Lola Versus' Screening in New York

  • Photo by Nick Hunt/Patrick McMullan Co.

    'Lola Versus' Screening in New York

    Daryl Wein (writer/director), Zoe Lister-Jones, Greta Gerwig, Joel Kinnaman and producer Michael London at a screening of Fox Searchlight's "Lola Versus" in NYC on June 5, hosted by The Cinema Society & Brooks Brothers with Grey Goose. The party was held at The Top of the Standard, where guests drank Grey Goose Cherry Noir cocktails. Attendees included: Zachary Quinto, Noah Baumbach, Parker Posey and Grace Gummer.

This article is related to: Interviews, Greta Gerwig, Lola Versus





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