Emily McFarlan Miller, Religion News Service: You’ve described this movie as a “love letter to Sacramento,” your hometown. But is it also a love letter to Catholic schools?
Greta Gerwig: Definitely. I wasn’t raised Catholic, but I loved Catholic high school, and I loved myCatholic high school, St. Francis.
I was actually very different than Lady Bird. I wasn’t a rebel. I never made anybody call me by a different name or dyed my hair bright red. I never challenged authority. I was a very rule-following kid. But I encountered so many adults there who really impacted my life so positively. There were priests and nuns who were just compassionate and funny and empathetic and thoughtful, and they really engaged with the students as people, not figureheads. And that was also true of the lay people who were teachers — theology teachers or choir teachers and all these different parts of the school.
I felt, as a moviegoer, kind of making fun of Catholic school has been covered. There’s lots of movies that have this idea of making it into kind of a joke, and I wanted to do something that reflected more like the genuine guidance and interest and compassion I found in those people, and I didn’t want it to feel like they were just a nun with a ruler or something.
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By Jake Coyle, Associated Press
Greta Gerwig has been an actress in 25 films, a co-writer on five and co-director of one. She’s assembled wardrobes, done make-up and — thanks to her 5 ft.-9 in. height— held the boom mic. She has, in a sense, been building up for a long time to her directorial debut: “Lady Bird.” …
The film — richly detailed, shrewdly observed, altogether a beauty— has already found some of the best reviews of the year, placing it among the early awards-season favorites. It boasts numerous revelations — including the performances by Ronan and her fictional mother Laurie Metcalf — but none more so than this one: Gerwig is an exceptional, fully-formed filmmaker, right out of the gate.
“She nailed it in the way that she did because she’s incredibly open to people and characters and places,” says Ronan, speaking by phone from London. “One of the reasons why she’s such a fantastic storyteller is because she’s incredibly sincere. Everything that comes out of her, whether it’s on the page or when she acts or when she directs, it only comes from the most genuine place.”
“Plainness with a purpose never gets rewarded the way it should,” she says. “Our catch phrase for the way the film looked was: ‘Plain and luscious.'”
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