Greta Gerwig, who wrote and directed the critically acclaimed new movie Lady Bird, stopped in Seattle to promote the film and make an appearance on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.
She told Evening the movie’s record-breaking positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes is deeply meaningful.
"The truth is, we put so much into it, every single person who worked on the film put so much into it. That it's being received with the love that was put into it, it's very moving for me and everyone involved,” she said, smiling. “There's a lot of group texts going all the time.”
It’s the actor’s first time writing and directing a film. The movie is set in her hometown of Sacramento and focuses on a teenager who insists on being called “Lady Bird.”
While not autobiographical, the story does include elements of Gerwig’s own life - including her affinity for Seattle musician Dave Matthews’ song Crash Into Me. Lady Bird is unapologetically obsessed with the song.
"She says, 'I love this song.' You feel like, 'Yes, just say what you love!'” Gerwig said, laughing. “(The movie) is an homage to Crash Into Me. I very much wanted that song, there was never another song it was going to be."
The film is an honest and poignant journey through Lady Bird's senior year of high school. It's both specific and universal - with first loves, first let-downs, and a complicated mother/daughter dynamic.
Gerwig said she’s been happily surprised by how widely it’s resonated.
"People talk to me about their families, their hometowns, their moms, their dads, their kids, and I feel like something about it connects people back to their own life,” she said. "My identity is still emerging as a director but it's what I've always wanted to do and I love it."
But Gerwig admits to being uncertain of one thing: why she gave her character the nickname “Lady Bird.”
"I was hitting some sort of (writer’s) block so I set everything aside and then I wrote at the top of the page, 'Why won't you call me Lady Bird, you promised that you would.' And I have no idea where that came from,” she said. “But then I remembered later that there was this Mother Goose nursery rhyme, ‘Lady bird, lady bird, fly away home.’ And I thought, ‘Well that must have been in there somewhere.’"
Lady Bird is rated R and is now playing.