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SXSW: Greta Gerwig and Olly Alexander Talk The Dish & The Spoon

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 16, 2011 at 3:52AM

SXSW is known for introducing Mumblecore to the indie film world, which defines a group of filmmakers and a minimal improvisational aesthetic derived from micro-budget necessity. SXSW-fave director Joe Swanberg discovered Greta Gerwig, who has moved from Hannah Takes the Stairs and the intense The House of the Devil (which severed her working relationship with Swanberg) to Greenberg and Hollywood's Arthur remake.
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Thompson on Hollywood


SXSW is known for introducing Mumblecore to the indie film world, which defines a group of filmmakers and a minimal improvisational aesthetic derived from micro-budget necessity. SXSW-fave director Joe Swanberg discovered Greta Gerwig, who has moved from Hannah Takes the Stairs and the intense The House of the Devil (which severed her working relationship with Swanberg) to Greenberg and Hollywood's Arthur remake.

Like many actors these days, Gerwig has learned that developing scripts with filmmakers often yields benefits. She collaborated closely with New York writer-director Alison Bagnall, who had taken time off after her 2005 film Piggy to raise young kids. Bagnall and Gerwig tried to find funding for a project for which they auditioned 19-year-old Brit Olly Alexander. Bagnall was so excited by the interaction between the two actors that she quickly put together a tiny budget and five-man crew and took off to a family beach house on the Delaware coast to shoot The Dish & the Spoon, which debuted well in the Emerging Visions section here. See the video below.

Thompson on Hollywood

Gerwig plays a woman who is raging with anger at her husband for cheating on her. She wails and cries and yells and acts out in a fearless and often hilarious performance. Hiding out at her parents' chilly vacation home, she runs into a younger wandering soul (Alexander) and takes him under her wing. The two actors have a great time, and Bagnall (pictured) knows how to get the best from them. Gerwig is a revelation.

Thompson on Hollywood

This article is related to: Festivals, Genres, Headliners, Video, Stuck In Love, Interviews , Media, SXSW, Independents, comedy


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.