LOS ANGELES, Nov 8, (RTRS): “Why won’t you call me Lady Bird? You promised that you would.”
That is the line that popped into actor and filmmaker Greta Gerwig’s head one day and went on to become the opening statement from the precocious teenage heroine of her directorial debut, “Lady Bird.”
“Lady Bird, in a way, wrote herself,” Gerwig told Reuters on Sunday.
“I was like, ‘Who is this girl, who’s this girl who makes (people) call her by a different name?’ It’s one of those things where it’s like I discovered the character as I was writing.”
The titular character, played by Saoirse Ronan, is a teenage girl growing up “on the wrong side of the tracks” in Sacramento, California, attending Catholic school and wrestling with her identity as she figures out life after graduating from high school.
“I wanted to make a movie that was about home, and how home is something you only understand when you’re leaving,” said Gerwig, who grew up in Sacramento and pens a love letter to her home town in “Lady Bird.”
The film, which opened in limited theaters last week and will roll out in more US theaters this month, marks the solo directing debut of Gerwig, 34. She carved a career co-writing and starring in independent darlings such as 2010’s “Greenberg” and 2012’s “Frances Ha.”
“Lady Bird” has already garnered critical praise and early awards buzz.
“She just has this unique lens of seeing the world,” actor Beanie Feldstein, who plays Lady Bird’s best friend Julie, said of Gerwig. “It makes so much sense that she were to direct because that lens has always existed in her acting and in her writing.”
In “Lady Bird,” Gerwig explores the complexities of her heroine’s various relationships, from her frustrations living in a cash-strapped home to the endearing connection with Julie and the innocence of her first love.
Gerwig said she wanted to reflect a “kaleidoscope of people” in Lady Bird’s life because “when she leaves, you have to feel like she’s really leaving an entire community.”
But at the core is Lady Bird’s evolving relationship with her mother, played by Laurie Metcalf, from explosive arguments and hurtful words to tender moments and a mutual desire to live up to each other’s expectations.
“There aren’t that many movies about the mother-daughter relationship and it’s such a rich, beautiful, complicated thing,” Gerwig said.
“I just was like, ‘Everybody’s got a mother so why aren’t there more things about this?’”
Saving Metropolis and Gotham City from the clutches of super-villains might be enough pressure for the average caped crusader but the cast of the forthcoming “Justice League” film also face another equally-terrifying foe: film critics.
The film is the latest instalment from the DC comics stable of super-heroes – a series which, with the notable exception of this summer’s “Wonder Woman”, has met with a less than positive critical response and has failed to match the box office of rival Marvel’s biggest super-hero offerings.
The film features a host of major DC characters and box office stars including Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Ezra Miller as the Flash.
Gadot won both critical plaudits and box office success for “Wonder Woman”, which was directed by Patty Jenkins, and she is confident that the experience from that film helped her reprise the character in “Justice League”.
“I had almost no transition from Wonder Woman because I finished Wonder Woman and the next day I went to set to start working on Justice League,” she told Reuters.
“I was already in the character and I only had to serve the story and the context of every scene and just you know be there and serve the director’s vision.”
Momoa was hopeful for the film’s prospects, telling Reuters “I really hope that the fans enjoy what Zack (Snyder, the director) and I have done with Aquaman.”
The film’s predecessor, 2016’s “Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” grossed just over $870 million at the global box office according to film revenue website Box Office Mojo, but received a 27 percent rating on film review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
Another recent entry in the DC franchise, 2016’s “Suicide Squad,” opened to an equally poor critical reception, and took around $745 million at the global box office.
While both totals are not insubstantial, they are dwarfed by Marvel’s big hits — 2012’S “The Avengers” and 2015’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which took $1.5 billion and $1.4 billon respectively.
Audiences in 2017, however warmed to “Wonder Woman,” which grossed over $80 million more at the US box office than “Dawn of Justice,” as well at proving a hit with critics, garnering a 92 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.
LOS ANGELES: Colson Baker — aka Machine Gun Kelly — has joined the ensemble of the Netflix thriller “Bird Box,” starring Sandra Bullock.
“Patti Cake$” breakout Danielle Macdonald, Trevante Rhodes, Jacki Weaver, Sarah Paulson, “Alita: Battle Angel” star Rosa Salazar, and Lil Rel Howery are also on board.
Susanne Bier is directing “Bird Box” from a script by “Arrival” writer Eric Heisserer.
The film follows a woman and a pair of children who are blindfolded then forced to walk through a post-apocalyptic setting along a river. Baker will play Felix in the pic.
Dylan Clark is producing “Bird Box” with Chris Morgan and Clayton Townsend. The movie was developed by Scott Stuber at Universal, before he moved to Netflix to head its feature film division.
Baker will appear opposite Vera Farmiga in Rupert Wyatt’s sci-fi film “Captive State.” His other acting credits include the independent features “Punks Dead,” “Nerve” starring Dave Franco and Emma Roberts, and “The Land” with Erykah Badu, in which he served as co-executive producer. He was also handpicked by Cameron Crowe for a regular role on the Showtime series “Roadies.”
Baker is represented by ICM Partners, EST 19XX, and Felker, Toczek and Levine.