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First Look: Greta Gerwig In Noah Baumbach's Secret Black & White Film 'Frances Ha'

by Edward Davis
July 24, 2012 6:02 PM
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One of the best pleasant surprises of the initial Toronto International Film Festival announcement this morning? The surprise reveal of a new Noah Baumbach film. While Baumbach, the filmmaker behind "The Squid and the Whale," hinted to us in a recent interview that something was up his sleeve, we didn't imagine it was something we'd be seeing so soon.

Titled "Frances Ha," co-written by Baumbach with his girlfriend Greta Gerwig, plus starring Gerwig herself and Mickey Sumner ("Last Chance Harvey"), we've finally received a first look at the under-the-radar picture. And first and foremost, we'll all note that the picture is shot in black and white (this time instead of cinematographer Harris Savides, Baumbach has Sam Levy, of "Wendy and Lucy" fame, shooting the picture). And clearly this is the picture Gerwig was talking about when she hinted a few months ago that she was at work on a "secret" picture.

"[It's] a love story about girls. It’s a girl who’s in love with her best friend, but not sexually. It’s sort of that moment when you realise, 'Oh, so we won’t all move in together,' and you’re going to move on with your life," Gerwig said adding, "I’m really proud of it. I think it’s really good."

A few more details have arrived courtesy of the TIFF website. Here' sthe synopsis: An aspiring dancer (co-writer Greta Gerwig) moves to New York City and becomes caught up in a whirlwind of flighty fair-weather friends, diminishing fortunes and career setbacks, in the new film from director Noah Baumbach ("Margot at the Wedding," "Greenberg").

Scott Rudin, who's worked closely with Baumbach on his last three projects, is a producer along with Baumbach, Lila Yacoub, Rodrigo Teixeira and the picture is a brief 86 minutes long. The picture has no distribution yet, but that's what its TIFF appearance will be all about. It also looks like astute reader pointed out something we missed: it appear that Adam Driver of HBO's "Girls" (the character Adam), is also in this picture. Certainly looks like him in the fedora, no?

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More: Frances Ha, Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig

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  • New York | September 30, 2012 7:13 PMReply

    Wow. I have never seen such a personal debate in a comments section. It reads to me that this either Jennifer Jason Leigh (or her best friend) and Noah B or Greta G or one of their friends having this conversation with anonymous names. Who else would care so deeply and personally about these two? Wait a minute, what was Jennifer Jason Leigh's name in fast times? Wasn't it Stacy? Or was that pheobe cate's name? Someone had the name Stacy.

  • FredFritz | September 2, 2012 2:56 AMReply

    Clearly Stacy is very angry about something, and would have us believe it is about NB, JJL and GG - my guess is she got her vituperative little ass dumped for another woman at some point and is still fuming over it.

  • girlsfan | August 27, 2012 1:46 AMReply

    Can we go back to talking about Adam Driver???

  • Stacy | August 20, 2012 8:39 PMReply

    NB worked on Madagasgar 3. Its as much a NB product as any other film he works on. In case you haven't figured it out yet, a movie is made up of more than just the director and actors. Yes, screenwriters count too. I don't know about you, but "favors for my friends" doesn't usually pay me as handsomely as NB was paid for his work on that movie. It was a job. You sure take a lot of latitude with words. No one ever said working for HBO = Hollywood director. But would one consider NB an independent director? No. He is almost up there as an A-list director. Not Steven Speilberg, no, but he is well-known in Hollywood. His name does upon doors for those attached to his projects, and that was exactly my point about GG working with him numerous times over the past few years. My family works in the entertainment industry (and my uncle is especially prominent) and while I've taken a different route, I've spent a bit of time in at as well, on the corporate and business side, and let me tell you, NB's name does most certainly command attention and important people in the industry (namely big studios) will take meetings with him, on any random day. That is not the case for your average independent film maker, as you're making him out to be. Btw, every "independent studio" you named is an offshoot or affiliated to a major studio. You think just because the budgets and distribution are smaller, and the name "independent" is attached to it that the trappings of a big studio film are non existent? No. NB is more of a Hollywood director more than the independent film director "based in New York" that you make him out to be. You seems to really care about GG's career, and thats fine. She is and will be off everyone's radar in a couple years. I don't care enough about this talentless dimwit to continue this conversation. And unless you are her, you too are speculating. Maybe not being a informed consumer is not important to you - but I do care about what I put my hard earned money towards, and its not going to be given to talentless homewreckers. If Chick-fil-A and Kristin Stewart has taught anyone anything lately, its that people should care. Before you go off and say that people are entitled to their private lives, know that there is a difference between private and public figures, the latter are expected to be role models, whether they like it or not. That makes every A to D lister a public figure. Even the law recognizes this (public and private figures have different thresholds of proof/evidence for libel and defamation). Those in the know think GG is a social climber with movie star aspirations (although unattainable), and a talentless one at that. JJL is pure class. By continuing to cling onto NB she's just further proving us right.

  • d | August 25, 2012 10:54 PM

    @Stacy - yes, you made a simple comment. It was also a stupid and baseless one, so I thought I'd reply. (You are aware this is a public website, right?) This will be my last comment as well. ... "Do you really think that Chick-fil-A's CEO's comments have nothing to do with his personal life?" Excellent reading comprehension. When did I say that? Again, Dan Cathy's personal life is NOT the reason that people (myself included) are boycotting Chick-fil-A; the reason is his very up-front, PUBLIC statements about gay marriage and -- first and foremost -- the fact that his business donates money to anti-gay-marriage groups. Get it now? ... This is a quote from you: "NB is not an 'independent film director' in the loosest sense of the word." I corrected you using the definition accepted by almost everybody. But I guess I "have no real clue how Hollywood really works," because "they don't finance movies based on dictionary meanings of what an independent filmmaker should be." Which, if you actually look at what I wrote, I also never said. What I demonstrated was that all his films are independently-financed. How hard is that to understand? I would really like that example of who you consider a real independent filmmaker. ... "get your ass out of reading indiewire and start getting informed about law and politics and things that actually matter." You've posted more comments here than I have, first of all. Second, I wonder what makes you so sure whether or not I'm informed about things we weren't even talking about. ... "No one said anything about emulating actors nor do I think they are flawless." Let's break out that dictionary again: "role model: a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated." ... As for the rest, yeah, some people care, especially a troubled actor and his/her employers. But since I'm not an employer of actors, nor part of a studio, nor an actor, nor a gossip hound -- not even a casual People Magazine reader -- I don't care. I am curious, is Lindsay Lohan's career one of those "things that actually matter?" Whatever the case, the clear reason that she's "struggling to find work" is that her trainwreck of a personal life became public, and the public really, really cares. "Her personal life, public perception, and how she chooses to live it matters to her career." Exactly. To HER career. Not mine, not yours.

  • Stacy | August 25, 2012 7:44 PM

    @D - Honestly, your comments reveal the uninformed dimwit that you are. I posted a simple comment about GG being talentless homewrecker (which she is) and you had to go off on a tangent on dictionary definitions of "independent film" directors. You have no real clue about how Hollywood really works. Hint: they don't finance movies based on dictionary meanings of what an independent filmmaker should be. Second, I don't give a shit about GG's career - even with all her social climbing as a springboard, she doesn't have one. That was my main and only point. And btw, Johnny Depp was a movie star in most people's mind way before POTC.

    Second, get your ass out of reading indiewire and start getting informed about law and politics and things that actually matter. Do you really think that Chick-fil-A's CEO's comments have nothing to do with his personal life? His public opinions DO reflect his personal life (his faith), and they completely dictate his business. Get a fucking clue. Their official business motto is: "To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A." So in a family run, closely held corporation like Chick-fil-A, yes, comments like the ones that were made DO matter. In this case, being an informed consumer and not supporting businesses that conflict with your own values DO matter. Where businesses donate their money, and essentially, money consumers give them because of our spending habits, DOES matter. That's why Citizens United was an important landmark case. Lots of people, unlike you, want to be informed about what kinds of businesses they support, and they do give a damn. There are no clearly defined lines of separation in many instances, esp in small closely held corporations, and most people understand that.

    No one said anything about emulating actors nor do I think they are flawless. But they are mostly certainly a commodity, a product, offered for public consumption and most work to maintain their personas. They do not simply JUST act. They are tapped to represent brands because of their images, they appear in ads. Any good Hollywood agent or publicist will shoot for those kind of lucrative contracts for any and all of their celebrity clients. So the fact that you don't give a shit or don't see why people care about public figures is your problem. Celebrities (public figures) private lives matter in the public forum, and that public opinion in turn can often dictate what kind of career they will and can have. Ex. Lindsey Lohan is a freaking trainwreck in her personal life, so was Britney Spears at a point in time. The latter made a "career comeback" (to some extent) and the former is still struggling to find work. Not because she's untalented. Studios find it hard to insure her, she's a liability. Her personal life, public perception, and how she chooses to live it matters to her career. Moreover, studios give a shit about what the public thinks, and that factors into the types of movies they finance and make and the actors they hire. Firms exist in Hollywood just to counsel their celebrity clients on how to rehabilitate their public images. Stop reading the dictionary and welcome to the real word.

    Now this convo can end and I won't be responding anymore.

  • d | August 21, 2012 12:10 AM

    I'd rather not have to explain to you why Madagascar 3 is not "as much a NB product as any other film he works on," because it should be obvious to anyone who knows his work, so I'll just point out that you're probably the first (and likely last) person to ever make such a claim. I also wish this conversation would end. I don't know how to stop it. Noah Baumbach is, believe it or not, a famously independent filmmaker. Why do you keep arguing this point? Yes, those independent studios are offshoots/divisions of major studios. I guess Clerks is a Hollywood studio film because it was picked up at Sundance and distributed by Miramax, an offshoot of Disney? I guess the Focus Features release The Limits of Control is a Hollywood studio film? Jim Jarmusch, that film's director and another famously independent filmmaker, is, according to you, not independent? This is all very bizarre. What IS an independent film, in your opinion? Yes, both filmmakers are relatively well-known. Working with them may give you "cred" of some sort, but by no means will it make you super-famous. Johnny Depp worked with Jarmusch on the Miramax film Dead Man, but it took Pirates of the Caribbean, 8 yrs later, to make him a movie star. ... I wonder what "trappings of a big studio film" you're referring to? ... "You seems to really care about GG's career, and thats fine." You're the one who brought it up. "you too are speculating." All I did was wonder if there was any evidence to back up what you were saying. It's unclear to me why I should believe that's her goal. Again, black-and-white, low-budget Noah Baumbach movies are literally no one's idea of a "ticket to stardom." "If Chick-fil-A and Kristin Stewart has taught anyone anything lately, its that people should care." Um, how so? The Chick-fil-A thing has nothing to do with the CEO's personal life, it has to do with his public opinions and -- first and foremost -- where his business donates its money. The Kristen Stewart thing I don't care about at all. Again, I don't know these people. "there is a difference between private and public figures, the latter are expected to be role models, whether they like it or not." Role models to whom? "Expected" by whom? Not me. I still don't get the "actors are role models" thing. Actors act. What they do outside of that may be interesting/a big deal to some people, but to me -- not at all. It's not their problem if you emulate them, and/or perceive them to be flawless. It's yours. You should know better (unless you're a kid, in which case your parents should know better). ... "Those in the know think GG is a social climber" Who, exactly? As for not supporting either of them with your hard-earned money, good for you. Now we really should find a way to stop talking about this.

  • Stacy | July 28, 2012 12:58 PMReply

    She's constantly finagling her way into Baumbach's movies to get attention, because she knows she can't carry movies on her own. Look at how many times they've worked together since Greenberg.

  • Stacy | August 20, 2012 8:55 PM

    @Anon - you're probably right. Unfortunately, to protect her child, JJL will not come out and discuss this publicly, but people have an absolute right to know. I hope GG figures out karma's a bitch. I'm assuming she kind of already has, seeing how her career has not taken off in the way she wanted it to when she first decided to be a homewrecker.

  • d | August 19, 2012 5:29 PM

    @Stacy - LOL, take your own advice: Baumbach did not direct Madagascar 3. He co-wrote the screenplay, supposedly as a favor to Ben Stiller. Madagascar 3 is not "A Noah Baumbach Film." Yes, he worked for HBO, so... does that mean Lena Dunham is a "Hollywood director?" But fair enough, I guess anyone who's directed a show on TV -- even if it didn't make it to air -- is the kind of A-lister who can make people movie stars. (That was sarcasm, if you couldn't tell.) ... Here's the definition of "independent film" for you: "a professional film production resulting in a feature film that is produced mostly or completely outside of the major film studio system." Examples of "independent studios," which primarily distribute indie/foreign films but sometimes produce, are: Sony Pictures Classics, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Focus Features, and Warner Independent Pictures. The Squid & the Whale was distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, Margot at the Wedding was distributed by Paramount Vantage, and Greenberg was produced/distributed by Focus Features. None of which got a wide release in theaters. If I got my facts wrong and one of those films was bankrolled by a major studio, feel free to say so. ... "He doesn't have to have raised anyone to movie star status to be proved capable of doing so." To PROVE he's capable of that, he would need to have done it, no? ... Still not sure what bigger movie you're talking about: the independent Lola Versus? The independent To Rome with Love? The independent Damsels in Distress? And I never said Gerwig didn't want to make mainstream movies. She probably does, seeing as how she already has. But for the record, no, the only two non-indies she's made, to date, are Arthur and No Strings Attached (both supporting parts). If I'm forgetting something, do tell what it is. I'd like to know. "She said she loves and wants to make all kinds of movies, not just independent." Now that she has the opportunity to make all kinds of movies, why shouldn't she? Where did I say she didn't want to do that? I said she consistently makes low-budget indies. Which is true. I couldn't find that Times article you were referring to, but I think the key part of your sentence is: "if that happens to her." Has she ever said that being a movie star is her ambition? No? Well there you have it. Maybe it is an ambition of hers to be a movie star, maybe it isn't. That's fine. The point is: you don't know and you're speculating, based on nothing. As for her career trajectory, what it clearly suggests is that she wants to make all different kinds of movies. ... The "homewrecker" thing: not only can I not pretend to know anything about these people or their personal lives, but I also couldn't care less.

  • Stacy | August 19, 2012 3:06 PM

    I would suggest you spend a bit more time on IMDB brushing up on both the careers of NB and GG. Then you can figure out the bigger movie part on your own.

    NB is not an "independent film director" in the loosest sense of the word. Is being the director of Madagasgar 3 considered independent and low budget now? Is working with HBO to develop The Corrections considered those things to? Look at his film budgets, the people he works with, and the studios who back him. Artsy, maybe (this is debatable). Not entirely blockbuster, sure, but in no way "independent". He is a well known director in Hollywood who makes millions. No Michael Bay for sure, but in no way is NB making low budget films. So why wouldn't appearing in his movies garner her mainstream attention and raise her status in Hollywood? He doesn't have to have raised anyone to movie star status to be proved capable of doing so.

    She's said in multiple interviews that you can take the time to google yourself (maybe start with the NYT) that she would love to be a movie star, if that happens to her (and it won't). She does want to make mainstream movies, and she said this as well. She said she loves and wants to make all kinds of movies, not just independent. That sounds like someone who is trying to move into mainstream to me. How much clearer can the message be (in her own words no less)? Does her career trajectory thus far (and all her recent media has declared her successfully moving from indie to mainstream) suggest she doesn't want to be a movie star?
    She wants it, end of story.

    What's less known (because Jennifer Jason Leigh is keeping it classy) is that she is a homewrecker. JJL was pregnant at the time she filed for divorce from NB, shortly after Greenberg was made, and shortly after he and GG made their rounds around town.

  • d | August 18, 2012 1:51 AM

    @Stacy - "she's worked with NB 4 times... While We're Young (she only dropped out bc a bigger movie came along)" She didn't work with him on that, though, so make that 3. And what bigger movie are you referring to? "Carrying low budget movies does not garner her widespread attention, which she wants." Newsflash: that's primarily what she does, she carries low budget movies (that includes Frances Ha). How do you know she wants widespread attention? Any evidence to back that up? "He is a Hollywood director." No, he is an independent film director, based in New York. Greenberg was a limited-released indie, believe it or not. The only two Hollywood studio films SHE'S made have been No Strings Attached and Arthur. "NB doesn't have to LITERALLY carry her to movie star status." When did I say "literally?" I asked who has NB ever "carried" (in any way) to "movie star status," something he's supposedly capable of doing. And again, where do you get the idea she wants to be a movie star? She consistently writes, directs, and/or acts in extremely low-budget indies. But yeah, you're right -- making low-budget black-and-white movies with Noah Baumbach is a surefire way to become a movie star in Hollywood!

  • Anon | August 17, 2012 10:44 PM

    Pretty sure Jennifer Jason Leigh (Baumbach's ex) had a hand in helping him cast Greta in Greenberg (talk about shades of Rupert Sanders/Liberty Ross/Kristen Stewart), and they developed While We're Young together. I'm assuming Gerwig dropping the latter movie due to "scheduling conflicts" might be a smoke screen for the fact that after you've stolen someone's husband, its just downright crappy to also be a part of a (2nd) movie the abandoned spouse had a hand in making...

  • Stacy | August 16, 2012 12:02 AM

    In the past 2 years, she's worked with NB 4 times. Greenberg, While We're Young (she only dropped out bc a bigger movie came along), The Corrections & now Frances Ha. Carrying low budget movies does not garner her widespread attention, which she wants. He is a Hollywood director, and she wants to be a movie star. She squirms her way into his movies to get attention in mainstream media, then jumps ship when a more high profile project comes along. Don't forget NB left his then pregnant wife for this dim wit. She's a homewrecker.

    NB doesn't have to LITERALLY carry her to movie star status, he is just a stepping stone for her, and a huge one at that. However, she is not pretty or talented enough to make it, regardless of the fact that she got a leg up in Hollywood by sleeping with a married director and "collaborating" on films with him.

    Pointing out the facts doesn't make me a hater. GG is neither talented or beautiful, and you either need both or one of those in spades to become a real movie star. There are plenty of other more gifted and gorgeous actresses I can "hate" on if that were the actual case.

  • d | August 5, 2012 6:56 PM

    Remember when she dropped out of Baumbach's WHILE WE'RE YOUNG due to scheduling conflicts? No? It's true. Is that an example of her "finagling her way into Baumbach's movies to get attention?" What makes you think he didn't just *want* to work with her again? And I don't know if you're aware of her career, because she's carried several low-budget independents "on her own." Also, name one person that Baumbach (an independent filmmaker) has "carried to 'movie star status.'" LOLA VERSUS was also critically panned, which probably had a lot to do with why it bombed at the box office.

  • julia gulia | July 28, 2012 2:30 PM many times? Like once?

    Don't be a hater. This movie looks great.

  • stacy | July 28, 2012 12:56 PMReply

    GG is a homewrecker. Baumbach left his wife after GG and him worked on Greenberg together. She's unattractive and talentless, and aside from 3 or 4 films, wheres shes part of an ensemble cast and not carrying the movie, she has stuck to Baumbach like glue wanting him to carry her into "movie star" status. It's not happening. Lola versus bombed at the box office, and barely made any money. Hope she fades away.

  • Stacy | August 20, 2012 8:51 PM

    @JOY - absolutely. JJL is talented and beautiful. She was also pregnant when she realized what was going on, and then she filed for divorce. JJL had a hand in casting GG for Greenberg as well, so it was despicable for both NB and GG to do this to her. GG did it to further her career. For the sake of her child and image, JJL won;t rat on anyone in public but those in the know feel for her.

  • Joy | August 19, 2012 8:29 AM

    I now agree with you Stacy. Noah did leave his wife after he and Greta worked on Greenberg together. I will never know why he would they would betray Jennifer Jason Leigh. What a shame!

  • Guest | August 5, 2012 4:38 PM

    I agree...

  • Mariah | July 26, 2012 3:11 PMReply

    What I wouldn't give to be Greta Gerwig in that pic next to Mike Zegen and Adam Driver.

  • holly | July 25, 2012 11:48 AMReply

    yep, Adam Driver from Girls and Michael Zegen from Walking Dead/Rescue Me/Boardwalk Empire

  • Gotham55 | July 25, 2012 8:48 PM

    Love them both!!! Excited to see this.

  • chen | July 25, 2012 7:03 AMReply

    Is that Adam Driver, from Girls, in the spiffy fedora?

  • Joy | July 24, 2012 9:28 PMReply

    Greta Gerwig or her reps never confirmed that she is Noah Baumbach's girlfriend nor did he or his reps ever confirm that he is her boyfriend. This is all word of mouth, needless to say if it is true, I wish them luck and would love to see their film Frances Ha!

  • sally | May 14, 2013 10:26 PM

    They (NB and GG) are in fact together...he was just on the latest podcast episode of "The Dinner Party" and stated so. Also, when I went to see her and WS at the premier of Damsels in Distress NB was waiting for her outside the theater. I really used to like GG but now I think she (and NB) are disgusting home wreckers.

  • ED | July 24, 2012 11:27 PM

    Guess you've never seen the two together on multiple occasions in public, huh?

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