The up-and-comer and revered actress took to the red carpet to talk about working Mike Mills’ newest film
Mike Mills has become increasingly eminent in the cinematic world. Having made his name originally in music videos and commercials, the California-native has transitioned smoothly to the filmic world. Mills last film, the Academy Award-winning Beginners (2010), was released six years ago leaving many in the cinephilic world have been watering at the mouth waiting for the director-writer’s follow-up.
Thankfully the wait is finally over. With a star-studded cast putting their best on display coupled with a stellar screenplay, Mill’s newest flick is sure to have some buzz during award season. Knockturnal caught up with Greta Gerwig and Lucas Jade Zumann at A24’s highly anticipated premiere of Mill’s third feature film, 20th Century Women, presented courtesy of Project Cobalt in New York at the Florence Gould Hall. Check out our interview below:
How was it collaborating with Mike Mills on this and what you admire about him as a writer and director?
Greta Gerwig: I love that he has such a precise vision, but that he’s already ready to surprise himself with something unexpected and that’s a really rare beautiful combination in a director.
Your performance as Abbie was so beautiful. Can you speak about getting into her head and transforming?
GG: Well I had a long time to prepare. I had about six months. Mike is very good at assignment homework—films to watch, books to read, art to look at and music to listen to. He had me take photography lessons so I learned how to take pictures with these old cameras and how to develop them. It was extraordinary. I had all this time so when I was finally on set, we had two weeks of rehearsal with the full cast so that when we started shooting we were this really coherent unit. We had done all this work on our own and then we came together to do this work collectively. It was one of my most favorite acting experiences on a film.
How was it working with the legendary Annette Bening?
GG: She’s…she’s a goddess [laughs]. She’s incredible. I don’t know what else to say about her other than that I was so lucky to have worked with her. I also enjoy having her as a friend. I just admire her in all dimensions.
You have very touching moments with the very talented young actor, Lucas Jade Zumann. How was that?
GG: He was so precocious, smart and open to the experience, which I think is what is most important when you’re young—it’s to be open to whatever it’s going to be and not have preset ideas about it.
Could you speak a little about your directorial debut that you’re working on?
GG: We’ll I’m editing it right now [laughs]. I can tell you it’s called Lady Bird. I can tell you I shot all the footage. That’s about where it stops [laughs].
We had the chance to catch up with newcomer Lucas Jade Zumann during the red-carpet event as well and the bright-eyed actor had nothing but praise for his fellow cast members and director.
You’ve been working with a really star-studded cast in this film. How was it working with such experienced colleagues?
LJZ: They were all super supportive throughout the entire time. I never felt intimidated or that I wasn’t worthy of being there. They were always holding my hand and take me through it and non-judgmentally helping me through the whole process. It was one of my first large projects so it would have been a very intimidating process had they not been so great.
You had a lot of touching scenes with Greta Gerwig and Annette Bening in the film. How was it working with such great actors?
LJZ: Well again, just being on set with them and watching them perform, I was able to take things from the way they acted and how they developed their characters. These are things I will continue to use throughout my entire career—hopefully [laughs].
What’s the biggest highlight you’ve had working on this project?
LJZ: Mainly the self-reflection that I had to do before. I learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about other people doing this film. It gave me a higher sense of empathy. Just from reading the script, I’m able to already look into the lives of other people that have other roles in this world and that are seen as different people. What’s so special about this film is that everyone’s going to sit down and understand the person next to them a little more just from watching the film. They’ll also be able to understand themselves a little more. They’ll be more accepting of themselves and the people around them. I think that’s something super interesting about this film in that it touches on the humanity of people.
Speaking of killing it, you worked with a great director. How was it working with Mike Mills?
LJZ: He’s a super interesting, sensitive guy. Just talking to him in between takes, in between shots or before the scenes, I was able to see into him and see what kind of person he was. He would get into these long talks about how he perceives everything. Listening to him really helps you understand how he sees the world and the way it influences his writing. This is one situation that’s a very true situation that also helps bring in the honesty of the characters and story. It is such a real story and he’s able to make it relatable.
On a last note, how old are you?
LJZ: I’m fifteen, but I’m turning sixteen in a week.
Following the screening, guests headed over to Monkey Bar for cocktails and canapes including sliders, tuna tartare, mini truffle grilled cheese and a specialty cocktail made with Pepsi 1893 Ginger Cola– The Ginger Mule.
Catch A24’s “20th Century Women” in theaters December 25.