By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com March 21, 2012 at 2:37PM
After flirting with the mainstream last year in "No Strings Attached" and "Arthur," indie darling Greta Gerwig is firmly back in her usual territory for the next couple of years: the actress will next star in Tribeca Film Festival entry "Lola Versus," has Woody Allen's "To Rome With Love" following in the summer, and just wrapped a reunion with "Greenberg" director Noah Baumbach on the pilot for the HBO adaptation of Jonathan Franzen's "The Corrections."
But first up, she's with another verbose comic genius, toplining Whit Stillman's excellent return, "Damsels In Distress." We caught up with Gerwig today on the press rounds for the film, and while we'll have much more from her on the Stillman project closer to its release, we've got some updates on some of her upcoming projects to share.
In "The Corrections," Gerwig plays the movie producer girlfriend of Chip, the middle son of the Lambert family (played by Ewan McGregor). The actress told us, "We’re waiting to hear whether or not it’s going to be greenlit by HBO. The pilot was wonderful. I really hope it gets greenlit, I really love the material. My character is primarily in the first season, so it’s like just doing a ten hour movie with these amazing actors. And it’s not a style that I feel I’ve done a lot of. In a way, Whit’s movie is closer to the style. It’s serious but there’s an almost farcical element to it. It’s felt very 'After Hours' meets 'Hannah and Her Sisters.' "
One thing we were curious about was a casting gap: playwright Bruce Norris was announced as being part of the main cast, playing the eldest son of the family, Gary. But he dropped out unexpectedly close to production, leading to 'Corrections' producer Scott Rudin nixing plans to take Norris' Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Clybourne Park" to Broadway. No replacement had yet been announced, but Gerwig tells us that it's unlikely to be filled until the show gets the greenlight: "That part actually didn’t come up until the second episode. It’s not in the pilot, so they didn’t have to fill it immediately. I don’t know that they know who’s going to be in it yet. I guess they’re waiting to see if it’s picked up and then they’ll find out."
Gerwig was previously linked to another Baumbach project, the feature "While We're Young," which had names like Ben Stiller, Cate Blanchett, James Franco, Naomi Watts and Jesse Eisenberg attached over its gestation. Little has been heard since "The Corrections" was announced, and we asked Gerwig if she'd become involved in the project again, and if it was still a possibility. "I was never a part of it or not part of it," she replied, cryptically. "It was never actually, to my knowledge, happening or not happening. I think it is going to happen at some point but I don’t know… I do know that there is a script. But I haven’t read it."
Next up is the Woody Allen project, which sees Gerwig as one of a generation of younger actors who seem perfect to work with the veteran director, in a cast that includes Eisenberg, Ellen Page and Alison Pill. The actress says it was quite a different experience from working with Stillman. "He’s much less precious about his words than Whit. He’s always encouraging us to not say the script as written, which was a little intimidating because he’s one of my favorite writers, not just of screenplays, but also of essays and comedy pieces," she said. "His writing also sounds like Woody Allen, but it also sounds like Diane Keaton. My line would be like, ‘Well she’s really the one, she’s always been the one,’ which sounds like something Diane Keaton would say. But then he’d say, ‘Oh, just throw it out’ and I’d be like, ‘You’re Woody Allen, I can’t throw out your line, are you kidding me? I cling to these words!' "
And it wasn't just working with Allen that was a little scary, as her co-stars also include Alec Baldwin, Judy Davis and Roberto Benigni. "There’s a point in my vignette, because there was all these different stories, three different stories, and my story was me and Jesse Eisenberg and Ellen Page and Alec Baldwin and we were all acting, and then Woody came up and I was like, ‘I’m the only one in this circle who has not been nominated for an Oscar. Which one of us doesn’t belong?’ "
Given how things are going we're sure it won't be too long before she's in the same company. We'll have more from our interview with Greta Gerwig soon. "Damsels In Distress" opens on April 6th, while "Lola Versus" follows on June 8th, and "To Rome With Love" is close behind on June 22nd.
- Reporting by Jeff Otto