Greta Celeste Gerwig (//; born August 4, 1983) is an American actress, writer, and director. She first garnered attention after working on and appearing in several mumblecore films. Between 2006 and 2009, she appeared in a number of films by Joe Swanberg, some of which she co-wrote and co-directed.
Since the early 2010s, Gerwig has collaborated with Noah Baumbach on several films, including Greenberg (2010), Frances Ha (2012), for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination, and Mistress America (2015). She has also performed in the films such as Damsels in Distress (2011), To Rome with Love (2012), Jackie (2016), and 20th Century Women (2016), the latter of which earned her a nomination for the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In 2017, Gerwig wrote and made her solo directorial debut with the critically acclaimed comedy-drama film Lady Bird, which won the award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy at the 75th Golden Globe Awards. For her work on Lady Bird, Gerwig also received two Academy Award nominations, for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, as well as Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Best Screenplay; Gerwig became the fifth woman in history to be nominated in the Best Director category at the Oscars.
A native of Sacramento, California, Gerwig is the daughter of Christine (née Sauer), an OB-GYN nurse, and Gordon Gerwig, who worked for a credit union on small business loans. She has an older brother, a landscape architect, and sister, a Manager at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She has German, Irish, and English ancestry, and was raised a Unitarian Universalist. She attended St. Francis High School, an all-girls Catholic school in Sacramento. She has described herself as having been "an intense child." She showed an early interest in dance, and had intended to complete a degree in musical theatre in New York, but ended up graduating from Barnard College with a degree in English and philosophy. Outside of class, she performed in the Columbia Varsity Show alongside Kate McKinnon.
Gerwig originally intended to become a playwright, but turned to acting when she was not admitted to playwriting MFA programs. In 2006, while still studying at Barnard, she was cast in a minor role in Joe Swanberg's LOL, and appeared in Baghead by Jay and Mark Duplass. She began a partnership with Swanberg, which resulted in the duo's co-writing Hannah Takes the Stairs (2007), and sharing both writing and directing duties on Nights and Weekends (2008). Through these films, she became known as a key figure in of the rising mumblecore film movement, often referred to as an "it girl". Although she had an association with a number of other mumblecore filmmakers and appeared in several films—among them Ti West's The House of the Devil—mainstream success remained elusive.
Of this period in her life, Gerwig has said "I was really depressed. I was 25 [in 2008] and thinking, 'This is supposed to be the best time and I'm miserable' but it felt like acting was happening for me, and I went back to acting classes".
In 2010, Gerwig starred in Noah Baumbach's Greenberg alongside Ben Stiller, Rhys Ifans, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. In an appraisal of her work in this and other films, the New York Times critic A. O. Scott described Gerwig as an "ambassador of a cinematic style that often seems opposed to the very idea of style." "She seems to be embarked on a project," Scott wrote, "however piecemeal and modestly scaled, of redefining just what it is we talk about when we talk about acting."
Gerwig and Baumbach co-wrote his next film, Frances Ha, which was released in May 2013 after having toured the festival circuit since September 2012. Gerwig played the title role, and received a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical for her performance. Her third on-screen collaboration with Baumbach, Mistress America, was released in August 2015 to generally positive reviews. It currently holds an aggregated score of 75 at Metacritic, and has an 82% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Gerwig's next starring role was in Rebecca Miller's Maggie's Plan, which premiered as an official selection of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, opening to positive reviews. The film was also screened at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and the 66th Berlin International Film Festival. That same year, Gerwig starred in Jackie, directed by Pablo Larraín, and 20th Century Women, directed by Mike Mills, earning acclaim for both performances, particularly her work in the latter, for which she earned a nomination for the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In 2017, Gerwig made her solo directorial debut (after having co-directed Nights and Weekends) with the teen comedy-drama film Lady Bird, which she also wrote. The film's cast includes Saoirse Ronan, Tracy Letts, Laurie Metcalf, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Stephen McKinley Henderson and Lois Smith. Lady Bird premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on September 1, 2017, was theatrically released in the United States on November 3, 2017 by A24, and in the United States it has grossed more than $50 million against its $10 million budget.
Upon release, critics praised Gerwig's screenplay and direction. The film was later chosen by the National Board of Review, the American Film Institute, and Time magazine as one of the top 10 films of 2017. At the 75th Golden Globe Awards, Lady Bird won the awards for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actress – Musical or Comedy (Ronan), and also received nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Metcalf) and Best Screenplay. At the 90th Academy Awards, it is nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Gerwig, Best Actress for Ronan, and Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Metcalf. Gerwig became the fifth woman in history to be nominated in the Best Director category at the Oscars.
In 2018, Gerwig was part of the ensemble cast of the 2018 animated film Isle of Dogs, by Wes Anderson, which premiered at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival. She is slated to star in director Mia Hansen-Løve's upcoming film Bergman Island, alongside Mia Wasikowska and John Turturro.
Gerwig made her first talk show appearance in 2010 on Jimmy Kimmel Live! She was later cast as a lead in the HBO pilot The Corrections (2011) and a spin-off of How I Met Your Mother titled How I Met Your Dad (2014), but neither were picked up to series. Gerwig voiced one of the main characters in the Adult Swim animated series China, IL. In 2016, she guest-starred in two episodes of the comedy series The Mindy Project.
In May 2014, Gerwig made her stage debut as Becky in Penelope Skinner's The Village Bike at the Lucille Lortel Theater in New York. The show ran until the end of June. She was nominated for the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Actress for her performance.
In 2011, Gerwig won an award from the Athena Film Festival for her artistry as one of Hollywood's definitive screen actresses of her generation. In 2014 she was selected as a member of the jury for the 64th Berlin International Film Festival. Her 2018 nomination for the Best Director category at the Academy Awards for Lady Bird makes her the first woman in eight years (and one of only five women in the academy's history) to have been nominated for the category.
In July 2017, Gerwig was among 60 artists who signed an open letter organized by the New-York-based group Adalah-NY that called on Lincoln Center to cancel performances of a play by Israeli author David Grossman staged "with support of the Israel's Office of Cultural Affairs in North America." In September 2017 Gerwig apologized, saying signing the letter had been "a mistake. I was unfamiliar with the complexities of the letter and I did not take the time to study them."
While promoting Lady Bird, Gerwig came under scrutiny for her past work with Woody Allen, in the midst of renewed media interest in sexual assault allegation against him. After being publicly criticized by Dylan Farrow for ignoring her allegations, Gerwig apologized for working with Allen and said that she "will never work with him again". She elaborated in an interview with The New York Times:
Dylan Farrow’s two different pieces made me realize that I increased another woman’s pain, and I was heartbroken by that realization. I grew up on his movies, and they have informed me as an artist, and I cannot change that fact now, but I can make different decisions moving forward.
|2007||Hannah Takes the Stairs||Hannah||Also co-writer|
|2008||Nights and Weekends||Mattie||Also co-writer, co-director and producer|
|2008||Quick Feet, Soft Hands||Lisa||Short film|
|2008||I Thought You Finally Completely Lost It||Greta|
|2009||You Wont Miss Me||Bridget|
|2009||The House of the Devil||Megan|
|2010||Art House||Nora Ohr|
|2010||Northern Comfort||Cassandra||Also co-writer|
|2010||The Dish & the Spoon||Rose|
|2011||No Strings Attached||Patrice|
|2011||Damsels in Distress||Violet Wister|
|2012||To Rome with Love||Sally|
|2012||Frances Ha||Frances Halladay||Also co-writer|
|2014||The Humbling||Pegeen Mike Stapleford|
|2015||Mistress America||Brooke Cardinas||Also co-writer and producer|
|2015||Maggie's Plan||Maggie Hardin|
|2016||20th Century Women||Abigail Porter|
|2017||Lady Bird||N/A||Writer and director|
|2018||Isle of Dogs||Tracy Walker (voice)|
|2018||Untitled Noah Baumbach Project||Post-production|
|2011–2015||China, IL||Pony Merks (voice)||21 episodes|
|2014||How I Met Your Dad||Sally||Unsold CBS pilot|
|2015||Portlandia||Mermaid||Episode: "Doug Becomes a Feminist"|
|2016||The Mindy Project||Sarah Branum||2 episodes|
|2017||Saturday Night Live||Office Boss||Episode: "Saoirse Ronan/U2"|