INTERVIEW: Greta Gerwig on making ‘Greenberg’ with Ben Stiller and Noah Baumbach

For a while, it was nearly impossible to read an article about mumblecore without seeing a picture of Greta Gerwig, usually followed closely by a reference to her as the queen of the ad hoc movement. But as the wave of low-fi realism has fanned out and dispersed, Gerwig has continued to establish her place as one of the most distinctive young actresses in or out of Hollywood.

Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg, in which she plays a melancholy personal assistant opposite Ben Stiller’s misanthropic carpenter, is a confident step toward the mainstream, at least by the standards of, say, Baghead. For the first reel, before Stiller moves into the spacious Los Angeles house owned by his brother and her boss, Gerwig functions as the movie’s temporary protagonist, and the ease with which she inhabits her character doubtless helped inspire Stiller’s most nuanced performance in more than a decade. Initially envisioning herself as a playwright, Gerwig played a small role in Joe Swanberg’s LOL, then vaulted to co-starring and co-writing in Swanberg’s Hannah Takes The Stairs and Nights And Weekends.

More recently, she played the protagonist’s pizza-scarfing best friend in The House Of The Devil, a part that culminated in one of the most memorable movie shocks in recent history. From her home in New York, Gerwig recently talked to The A.V. Club about the finer points of onscreen driving, how Baumbach is like Shakespeare, and the future of mumblecore.


Actors, Interview

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