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For Greta Gerwig, art imitates her actual life in ‘Frances Ha’

Screening Of IFC Films' 'Frances Ha' - Arrivals

Screening Of IFC Films' "Frances Ha" - Arrivals

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Updated: June 25, 2013 6:12AM

Greta Gerwig isn’t one of those young stars who feels smothered by all the attention.

Smother her, please!

“Most people are so sweet. They will come up to me and say, ‘Hey, Greta, I really like your movies.’

“I walk around with self-doubt, and that makes me feel awesome. And awesome feels so good,” she says with a laugh.

She should get ready for some serious self-image booster shots, now that “Frances Ha,” her latest project, is in theaters.

It’s a love story between women, with no sexual love. “It’s still a love story,” Gerwig insists. “It’s about girl has girl, girl loses girl and girl gets girl back again. Believe me, in female friendships, we’ve all lived this scenario.”

She plays an aspiring modern dancer in her late 20s, who hits the skids when she and her closest female friend part ways.

“No one really talks about it, but your late 20s are such a heartbreaking time,” says Gerwig, who’s 29. “Right after college, being a mess is still acceptable. But you get to this point in your late 20s when the people around you really start to figure out their versions of an adult life.

“There are people getting serious about their jobs. Your friends suddenly have health insurance and a 401k. They put a down payment down on an apartment. Some of them get engaged.

“It dawns on you that you can’t be a kid forever, and that life is happening now,” she says, mentioning that this reality also hit her in the face while filming “Frances.” “We used my hometown of Sacramento in the movie. Some of the people I used to know are married with kids.”

“It’s official,” she says with an unsteady laugh. “I’m actually a grown-up.”

The film reunites director Noah Baumbach and Gerwig, who worked together on “Greenberg” (2010). Both of them wrote the screenplay for “Frances Ha” specifically for her.

“Greta and I wanted to work together again after ‘Greenberg,’” says Baumbach. “I started writing stuff about this character Frances and this world — and it became this movie.”

The movie is also different because it’s shot in black and white.

“It was always intended to be a black-and-white film to capture that moodiness,” she says.

As for exploring female friendships, she sighs. “There are so many songs and films about breaking up with a boyfriend or a girlfriend, but none about what it feels like to have a friendship die or transform. It’s just as heartbreaking when that happens.

“I’ve been through it. No one escapes it,” she says. “Men don’t talk about it, but they go through it, too.” She even has discovered a stark truth. “I think when you’re in your late 20s, you realize that friends are not your family,” she says. “They will go off and have a family of their own. You will go off and find your own family. But it hurts.”

Time magazine recently profiled her as a leading lady of today and tomorrow. “It’s a big honor,” she says. “I’ve been doing this for a while, but I also feel like I’m experiencing my career for the first time, which is a dream combination.”

“I’ve been allowed to explore, grow and fail. I’m still excited and giddy about making movies. I’m not jaded.”

Big Picture News Inc.

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