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Baumbach and Gerwig charm with ‘Frances Ha’

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Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig co-wrote the catchy “Frances Ha.” - GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO
  • Getty Images file photo
  • Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig co-wrote the catchy “Frances Ha.”

Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach met actress Greta Gerwig when he cast her in his film “Greenberg.” Now, not only are they a romantic item, they have entered into a fruitful working relationship, co-authoring the wonderful screenplay for “Frances Ha.”  

Baumbach, who made “The Squid and the Whale,” directs, and Gerwig stars as Frances, a charming, optimistic, scatterbrained apprentice at a New York dance school whose world falls apart when her best friend and roomie moves out.

She moves to a series of temporary apartments,  including a short Christmas break in Sacramento with her parents (played by Gerwig’s real mom and dad).

Baumbach says the movie is intended to work like a pop song — be catchy, fun and a little sad, something you want to play again right away.

“The script had this musical rhythm to it,” says Baumbach, who was in The City  last month at the S.F. International Film Festival with Gerwig.

“It seemed to have this loping quality,” Gerwig says, “where there’d be lots of little pieces and then there’d be a long scene. It just sort of seemed to be the pace we were settling into as we were writing it.”

Gerwig originally wrote a great deal more material than was used in the Christmas sequence, which Baumbach calls “funny and touching.” She still has the pages, and says she’s continuing to write.  

“I’d like to make an entire movie in Sacramento. I feel like one of the greatest gifts you have if you want to be a writer is that you’re from somewhere,” she says.

She also would like to direct.

“I didn’t know it was a generic thing for actors to want to direct,” she laughs, and adds, “Really? Why would they say that? Directing is really hard!”

IF YOU GO

Frances Ha

Starring Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Michael Esper, Adam Driver
Written by Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach
Directed by Noah Baumbach
Rated R
Running time 1 hour, 26 minutes