Greta Gerwig — who most know as the free-spirited, dance-savvy Frances of Frances Ha — is in not one, but two of the most anticipated films dropping at the tail end of this year: Jackie and 20th Century Women, a SoCal ’70s dramedy that also stars Annette Bening and Elle Fanning.
In the latter, Gerwig plays punk photographer Abbie, and preparation for the part involved learning how to develop film, work vintage cameras, and blast a ton of ’70s sounds.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Gerwig opened up about the art that helped shape her performance — notably, the music she was listening to — and that her director, Mike Mills, steered her in the direction of David Bowie's biggest hits and some punk surprises.
"He gave me a thumb drive of music from 1979, which I then tracked down in record form," she told THR. "I'm pretty well-versed in music, so I knew the biggies: David Bowie, Talking Heads, Iggy Pop. But I didn't know The Raincoats and The Slits — they're both all-female punk bands. I really felt like I connected to something through them. The Raincoats had a great explanation about the history of rock and roll being a heteronormative art form — men singing about women. So if you're an all-female band, how do you write a song if, basically, that's the only song that's ever written? They felt they had to break apart the whole language of music to write a truly feminist song."
Honestly? Studying up for the role sounds just as enjoyable as playing it based on that rad research. 20th Century Women is out now in New York and Los Angeles, and hits theaters nationwide on January 20, 2017.