Gerwig has arrived as a director after just one film
Greta Gerwig has been an actress in 25 films, a co-writer on five and co-director of one. She’s assembled wardrobes, done make-up and, thanks to her height, held the boom mike. She has, in a sense, been building up for a long time to her directorial debut: Lady Bird.
“I was accumulating my 10,000 hours,” said Gerwig, who stands five-foot-nine. “When I finished this script, I thought: You’re still going to learn things but you’re not going to learn anything more by not doing it. Whatever learning happens now is going to happen by doing it. I just decided to take the leap.”
Gerwig’s Lady Bird, which opened last week in New York and Los Angeles, is a loosely autobiographical coming-ofage story about a high schooler named Christine (Saoirse Ronan) with the self-proclaimed nickname “Lady Bird” who aspires beyond her middle-class Sacramento life. From Catholic school, she dreams of New York or at least “Connecticut or New Hampshire, where writers live in the woods.”
The film — richly detailed, shrewdly observed, altogether a beauty — has already found some of the best reviews of the year, placing it among the early awards-season favourites. It boasts numerous revelations — including the performances by Ronan and her fictional mother Laurie Metcalf — but none more so than this one: Gerwig is an exceptional, fully formed filmmaker, right out of the gate.
“She nailed it in the way that she did because she’s incredibly open to people and characters and places,” says Ronan. “One of the reasons why she’s such a fantastic storyteller is because she’s incredibly sincere. Everything that comes out of her, whether it’s on the page or when she acts or when she directs, it only comes from the most genuine place.”