“I'm not, nor have I ever been, cool. That idea is out there because I've done so many indie films. But I'm much more of a musical-theater kid—I know every word to 'Starlight Express' and 'Cats'”. Regardless of how much she chooses to play the humility card, Greta Gerwig is without a doubt, in the eyes of many, a ‘cool’ Hollywood personality. And definitely not because of her Indie films appearances. Earlier this year, the actress turned director became the first female to get an Academy nomination in the Best Director category with her debut movie ‘Lady Bird’. The title which she wrote herself was also nominated for best picture and best original screenplay, a perfect summary of Greta’s rather stellar performance as a first-time solo director. Before the Oscar induced glitz and fame, however, she was, as she rightly described, your typical Hollywood muse, fledging with character and originality, and addicted to the theater and its sounds.
Greta began her Hollywood career in 2006 when she starred in Joe Swanberg’s 'LOL'. The actress admits that she’d always wanted to be a playwright, but after failing to secure admission to any playwriting MFA programs, she headed to Barnard where she met Joe Swanberg. Sequel to their first movie, Joe and Greta would go on to form a partnership that saw them collaborate on the film ‘Hannah Takes the Stairs’ (as writers) and ‘Nights and weekends’ (as both writers and directors). Participation in these movies helped her earn the reputation of being a forerunner of the mumblecore subgenre in the film industry. Despite this reputation, she was still incognito to most Hollywood fans and critics.
By 2010, the actress, along with Rhys Ifans, Ben Stiller, and Jennifer Jason Leigh starred in Noah Baumbach’s comedy-drama film titled ‘Greenberg’. The movie was by far a box office disaster, grossing just $7 million as against a $25 million budget, but this was not to take the shine off Greta’s performance. Critics described her as revolutionary, citing her style, which was uniquely dissimilar from what we were accustomed to in the film industry. From then on, newspaper articles, reviews, and analysis started popping up in the name of the actress, and she was finally getting some recognition.
What is arguably her breakthrough moment came in May 2013, when she co-wrote (alongside Baumbach) and played the lead role in the movie ‘Frances Ha’. Greta received a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, a sign of better things to come. Her partnership with Baumbach also led the release of ‘Mistress America’ in August 2015 to critical acclaim. The movie achieved a meta-critic score of 75 and currently holds an 82% rotten tomatoes rating. By 2015, she took up acting roles in Rebecca Miller’s romantic comedy-drama ‘Maggie’s Plan’, Pablo Larrain’s ‘Jackie’ and Mike Mills’s ‘Century Woman’. All three movies were a big plus to Greta’s acting career as she received numerous accolades from fans and critics alike.
The moment we now know her for, however, came two years later when she released her first title as a solo director. The movie name was ‘Lady Bird’, and unlike 2010’s 'Greenberg', it was a box office hit. Compared to its $10 million budget, ‘Lady Bird’ managed to gross well over $34 million at the box office. Unsurprisingly, Greta garnered plaudits for her direction and screenplay and the movie went on to make the Top 10 films of 2017 list. Come 75th Golden Globes and Greta was nominated for best director, making her the fifth only woman to have ever graced that selection, and while she didn’t win the award, Lady Bird secured Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy award.
Greta's next appearance in the film industry is expected to come later this year when she stars alongside John Turturro and Mia Wasikowska in Mia Hansen-Love’s ‘Bergman Island.’
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