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Greta Gerwig opens up to The Pavlovic Today on the autobiographical nature of her directorial debut, Lady Bird.
Following a screening of her new film Lady Bird, the indomitable Greta Gerwig delivered a press conference to industry insiders, which stars Saoirse Ronan as a high school senior rebellion against class and Catholicism in Sacramento.
Gerwig has made a remarkable early career as an actor in largely independent projects, working with important New York directors like Rebecca Miller and Noah Baumbach, whom she also has co-written with.
Her first independent project looks inward on her own upbringing; Gerwig was also raised in Sacramento, and attended the all-girls St. Francis Catholic School, before moving to New York to attend Barnard College.
Ronan’s character, Lady Bird, follows a similar trajectory in this beautiful and thought-provoking new movie. I was lucky enough to speak directly with Gerwig about the inspiration of the film, and her decision to return to her hometown to shoot it.
Her first independent project looks inward on her own upbringing; Gerwig was also raised in Sacramento, and attended the all-girls St. Francis Catholic School, before moving to New York to attend Barnard College. Ronan’s character, Lady Bird, follows a similar trajectory in this beautiful and thought-provoking new movie. I was lucky enough to speak directly with Gerwig about the inspiration of the film, and her decision to return to her hometown to shoot it.
PT: I was wondering if you could speak to the autobiographical nature of the movie. Is there anything that you wanted to capture from the coming-of-age experience that you felt like you hadn’t seen before?
Greta Gerwig: Nothing in the movie literally happened in my life but it has a core of truth that resonates with what I know. I think I really wanted to make a movie that was a reflection on home – what does home mean and how does leaving home to define what it means to you and your love for it.
It’s a love letter to Sacramento, and I feel like what better way to make a love letter than though somebody who wants to get out and then realizes that they loved it.
It’s a movie that’s framed around this family and this world and these people, and in a way, it’s secretly the mother’s movie, as much as it is Lady Bird’s movie. That was the core relationship.
I felt like I wanted that catch where you realize, ‘oh this is a love letter to the place, and it’s also the mother’s story. I wanted that kind of reversal to happen because I think that’s the truth: somebody’s coming of age and somebody’s letting go, and I was just as interested in the letting go as I was with the young people’s stories.
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