Meet Greta Gerwig

With the rave reviews surrounding Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival last weekend, and with Lola Versus arriving on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital download this Tuesday, September 11, we thought it would be fitting to run this featurette Fox Searchlight sent over on one of our favourite actresses, Greta Gerwig. Check it out below and let us know what your favourite Gerwig role is.

Greta Gerwig has been lighting up the big screen in recent years in supporting roles in both indie and mainstream films, including No Strings AttachedArthur and Greenberg, where she starred alongside Ben Stiller. In this feature, we will chronicle Gerwig’s career, beginning with her earlier projects such as Baghead to her recent films To Rome With Love, directed by Woody Allen, and Lola Versus.

Gerwig sparkles in this offbeat romantic comedy about looking for answers – and finding yourself – in a complicated world. When 29-year-old Lola (Gerwig) is dumped by her fiancé Luke (Joel Kinnaman) just three weeks before the wedding, she embarks on an emotional, year-long adventure of self-discovery filled with love, loss, hilarity and heartache. Guided (and often misguided) by the well-meaning advice of her close friends and eccentric parents, Lola’s chaotic journey en route to the big 3-0 proves that a single tumultuous year can yield the lessons of a lifetime.

Greta Gerwig in a scene from Baghead. Courtesy Sony Pictures.

Baghead

Greta Gerwig’s acting career began while she was attending Barnard College studying English and philosophy. She quickly became a favorite amongst filmmakers in the mumblecore movement who produced low-budget films starring amateur actors. She landed a role in Mark and Jay Duplass’ 2008 comedy/horror film Baghead, playing Michelle, a struggling actress. The film takes place in a cabin in the woods where four actors go to make a horror movie they believe will launch their careers. What they didn’t expect was for their fictional tale starring a man with a bag over his head to become a real life nightmare. Greta describes working with the Duplass brothers as a collaborative and open environment in which her ideas were welcomed by the directing duo.

A scene from Greenberg. Courtesy Universal Home Video.

Greenberg

Critic A.O. Scott of The New York Times says Gerwig gives a breakthrough performance in the 2010 film Greenberg and suggests she may be the, “…definitive screen actress of her generation.” Gerwig plays a young dog walker who falls for her employer’s brother Roger, played by Ben Stiller. On his road to recovery after suffering a nervous breakdown, Roger initially uses Florence (Gerwig) as a temporary fix to his problems. Unfortunately this leaves her to deal with an emotional trauma that seems to end their relationship. However, Florence’s true love for Roger stands out amongst painful realities, and the two are reunited.

A scene from Arthur. Courtesy Warner Bros.

Arthur

Gerwig shows a lighter, comedic side as Naomi Quinn in the 2011 remake of Arthur, starring Russell Brand. This film marks her transition from appearing in smaller projects from her “mumblecore” community to playing roles in mainstream Hollywood films. Gerwig plays Naomi, Brand’s love interest, a free-spirited tour guide with aspirations of publishing a children’s book. Her street-savvy charm and laid-back nature make Naomi the perfect match against the mega-millionaire’s power-hungry fiancé, played by Jennifer Garner. Movie critic Roger Ebert says Gerwig’s role as Naomi (originally played by Liza Minelli), was born with a natural chemistry that makes her enjoyable to watch in this film.

A scene from To Rome With Love. Courtesy Mongrel Media.

To Rome With Love

In Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love, Gerwig plays an American student who is caught in a love triangle with her boyfriend and best friend. The Italian romantic comedy is by far one of Gerwig’s most prized titles, starring alongside Award-winning actors Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz, Ellen Page, and Jesse Eisenberg. Gerwig describes shooting in Rome as such a wonderful experience because of the city’s beauty, ancient history, and idyllic setting for a film. On working with the famed auteur, Gerwig says she was very nervous and actually feared she would be fired the whole time. However once the announcement went public, she was thrilled that she was given the opportunity to work with one of her favorite writers/filmmakers.

A scene from 'Lola Versus'. Courtesy Fox Searchlight.

Lola Versus

One of the toughest times in a person’s life is going through a really bad break-up. Gerwig’s character as Lola in Lola Versus, shows that such a huge change can actually help people grow into a better version of themselves. Sure the road to healing may involve embarrassing drunken nights and awkward sexcapades, but Lola proves that with the help of supportive friends and an adjusted perspective on life, true independence can come in lieu of change. Gerwig’s own experience with bad break-ups left her learning that Prince Charming or a job cannot heal your heart but that, “… you’ve got to deal with yourself at some point.” Greta’s character definitely learns to deal in this quirky film, dubbed as a realistic  “post rom-com”.

Lola Versus is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital download Tuesday, September 11. Read our full review of it here and check out the trailer below.

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