What do you think of the idea of the beloved Little Women — Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy — as material girls?
On today’s Sony Pictures panel at Deadline’s The Contenders Los Angeles, Little Women writer-director Greta Gerwig said she wanted to bring out the power of money over women’s choices in Little Women’s Victorian Era.
Gerwig appeared on the panel with producer Amy Pascal and actor Florence Pugh, who portrays aspiring painter Amy. She said the film’s emphasis on the fact that women had no opportunity to earn their own money in that time period helps an audience understand Amy, who wants to be an artist but also aspires to marry a wealthy man.
“(Amy) finally gets a moment to explain herself…Amy is realistic. At no point do you hate her for her decisions,” Gerwig said.
Pascal, who championed the film, said the fact Gerwig chooses to tell the well-known story in two different time periods allows the audience to experience the characters in a different way than the original book. She added that she wanted the movie to show that “the lives of women and the things that women care about as a big epic film, not just as a girls movie. It’s not just about domestic trifles…(it’s) a big epic,” she said.
Filmmakers did not have to go as far back in history with A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which stars Tom Hanks as the beloved Fred Rogers. In order to differentiate from other recent examinations of Rogers’ influence, including the 2018 HBO documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, producer Youree Henley said he needed a different way into the story to motivate him to make the film.
That way in was seeing Rogers through the eyes of journalist Tom Junod. The movie is the true story of his friendship with Rogers. “I’m not a huge fan of biopics, I loved the way in… through this journalist, this jaded journalist which frankly I could relate to,” said Henley, who was on Hanks’ co-star Susan Kelechi Watson and composer Nate Heller.
He added with a laugh that he lived in “constant paranoia” that a director of the stature of Scott Rudin might snap up the script, which had ended up on the Black List of best unproduced screenplays back in 2013.
Never one to mince words, Quentin Tarantino did not hold back in talking about his penchant for re-imagining history, in this case Hollywood 1969, in Once Upon a Time. He said that a questioner had asked him if changing history in film several times meant he is “creatively bankrupt.”
“My response was, not when I do it it’s not!” quipped Tarantino, who appeared on a panel with costume designer Arianne Phillips. “Y’all can’t f*ckin’ do it. It’s mine. I created it. I can do whatever I want.”
Even though he changed some facts in Once Upon a Time, Tarantino said he came to the film wanting to be very specific to one year in Hollywood’s history, which marked the death of TV Westerns and ushered in the era of the cop show.
“A whole group of leading men, yeah, leading white men (made careers) running pocket combs through their pompadours, being the handsome he man,” he said. “Counterculture hits in a big way in 1967 and in 1969 it is the culture.” He said the new hero became “skinny, long-haired androgynous types, often the “hippie son” of a famous he-man, including Kirk Douglas, Peter Fonda and “even f*cking Arlo Guthrie.”
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