HFPA In Conversation: Greta Gerwig Brings Women Stories to the Screen

by Kirpi Uimonen Ballesteros December 2, 2019
Actress and filmmaker Greta Gerwig, Golden Globe nominee

rodin eckenroth/getty images

Home, family, sisterhood. Golden Globe-nominated Greta Gerwig believes those are the ingredients that make Little Women universally loved. And that’s why she brought Louisa May Alcott’s novel to the screen for the eighth time.  
“It is amazing because its popularity was instant. When it was published in 1868 it sold out in its initial printing in two weeks and it has since been translated into 52 languages. It has never been out of print since,” Gerwig told HFPA journalist Gabrielle Donnelly.

Gerwig’s parents used to read the book to her. “The first ten chapters are quite episodic and it is a very satisfying read every night. I loved it.”

Little Women is the story of four girls who want more than the world is able to give them at that moment. “I think that is something that we are still contending with and so much of the heart of the book could have been written yesterday. It’s about how to grow up and figure out who you are.”

Gerwig, who wanted to be a playwriter, ended up studying acting because she wasn’t accepted to study her dream profession. But she found her own way to write and direct movies, like Nights and Weekends and Lady Bird. “We are still figuring out how to make our stories heard and make them and also to continue to write the story of what it means to be a woman, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a citizen as someone who is female.”

Listen to the podcast and hear what kind of research she did for Little Women; why it was important she had access to Orchard House; why she spent a lot of time at the American wing of the Met; why she read the cereal box while eating breakfast when she was a child; what kind of books she read as a teenager; how her college professor helped her become a professional writer; how it affected her that Yale, Julliard, and NYU didn’t accept her into their playwriting Master of Fine Arts program; how she felt about the success of Lady Bird ; how she feels being one of the few female directors in the spotlight; how she bonded with Jordan Peele and Guillermo del Toro while campaigning for Lady Bird; how going to a women's college shaped her friendships; how she describes her mother and what kind of relationship she has with her; whether or not she reads film reviews; how it is to live with another writer-director, Noah Baumbach; why she likes making films; what she likes to do in New York; how her pregnancy affected her work; why she is moved by young people and their activism; and how she sees her future.