'Lady Bird' director on the making of her Oscar-nominated film

Gerwig appears on "Popcorn With Peter Travers" to talk about her Oscar-nominated film, "Lady Bird."
18:28 | 02/02/18

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Transcript for 'Lady Bird' director on the making of her Oscar-nominated film
I want to go where culture and like your recent C Connecticut and New Hampshire writers live in the Oakland schools easily. My pumpkin adventure driver's. Part. You work or there or the way that you don't work you're not even worth state tuition Christie might. A actually it's not and it's predict how. And why you should just go to City College you know with your work ethic just go to city collegiate men to jail and then back to City College immediately to yourself Bob. It's not expect every. Hi everybody I'm Peter Travers and this is popcorn where we tell you what's happening at the movies and there's a movie called lady bird which is one of my favorite movies. That I think if you're looking for something to see bits can reach you in here. Then this is the one to city and it is written and directed by my guess Greta garlic I am so. Pleased and happy for her that this happened you know coming of age movies are a dime a dozen in this world of Hollywood there so hard to get right. And Greta got this the ruling Liu sells it came one year old to see you. It's wonderful to see you too active last time I was here was for her mistress and you know yes we want to but this. Look solo directing. Debut that thing if you aren't just in complete control. You have written and directed by mean it's right it looks shocked. Don't you would be so old. I know now and then and then alien that that this sort of terrifying it would be all my fault. So. And I'm so glad it because I. I mean I'm his it's the number. And people who put their heart into in Purcell until while making and it's it's. So amazing that people are going to see in people liken their responding from their own acts of Phil Blake it's that it's what you hope happens but you know well yeah it's usually just sit back for the rest of the year just July. It all all over UN way I want to vet him making until game but. There are many things you can complement the director for when it works but one of them as you have some of the best actors in the universe and somebody might say well. She couldn't this was like she couldn't screw up because look he's got searcher Ronan and Laurie made carpentry team that's a every body in that movie is pitch perfect and orchestrated. That way yes the heart are evil and mean and when you have great actors like that and means. You want to give them a lot of freedom and a lot of safety UN really hold the perimeter around them so they feeling they have the ability to do their best work and I have seen all of these people on film and on stage and it just adored what they've done and the fact that became. And brought themselves to mine project was just. Amazing it's my favorite moment I have to say as a writer and is the director sitting many cameras. And watching them bring these characters to life is extraordinary. Now when I get this completely straight and if I hear a lot of people say well. Grant is telling the story of her owned growing up period Sacramento. California and so basically that's what she did is it that easy as if I could talk about. Growing up in Yonkers new York and write this wonderful thing and directed my I think I would watch that movie which in the second lieutenant Taylor and made it are we it's and its allies who lives in. But it's not quite that it is just describe what lady bird. Well it's about grown in Kristy McPherson. And it's about it last year in high school which explains it's too doesn't it to 2003 and she makes and England and Ireland called her lady bird. And including her mother and the film is really. In the love story between her mother at about rich complex. Loving fraught relationship and it's about that it's about sort of how. One person's coming of age and other reasons letting go and how that moment of letting go with some difficult. We it. With the and of child and it's I would say it's funny because actually I was the opposite of labor and you know I never made anybody coming in a different name and wickedly Ebert has come from and it. Yeah decided to say that's a team high I wanna attracted to color. I actually had to experience when I was writing I I kept I was writing tickets hitting some sort of roadblock with and it I wrote at the top of the page. Wiling commie lady bird you promise that you would. And I just stay here that this week at death came. As they get headed even in the intend to write it and then and looked in who's this character who makes everybody kind of a different name. And and I say locals script and they kept. Finding this character and and if they. Self authorship. Giving yourself a new name was something that was really interesting to me. But the character itself it wasn't until I heard searcher Ronan mean the words that suddenly fell lay. A third person was in the room with us and it was laid Ebert and even though they were my words and I don't I don't do any improvisation on set. That that what lady bird is was really collaboration. Between mr. Sharon and and a. So you did. Grow up in sacrament either of them sacrament you have a mother and father have them so you had those your actual mothers to nurse a hunt you know so we have a little bit and get going again. With your different. In the eighty Byrd well I wasn't only. Sure rule following Cain and never really colored outside the lions I was much Lance. People please sir and in golds are better and they think in some winds rating they character of lady bird was a way to explore some things that were. Not available to me as a person and it with it being some of the everything they I had thought that hadn't said with things and once in Juba hadn't done. But a feeling it created in the character of labor at this. Deeply flawed very human heroine who will I admired even though she is sometimes makes these big mistakes and I I think you know I definitely won and to use though. The setting of my childhood Sacramento because. First of I don't think it has enough movies made about it. And there are day. Geragos Sacramento and then there iphones after a minute movies recently there's that film Brad status in the placement Sacramento and a the television show the meant to list to please in Sacramento. There is American graffiti which is of great teammate that was shot in Stockton. California no Modesto California and then Stockton was agreed John Houston song called fat city. I can tell you ever had been exactly what shot in the upper yellow county very. I really. Investigating of that genre and billing and again if you look at it doesn't look all of these movies as it was preparing to consider census. Pacific landscape seen agricultural valley of California and the flatness in the openness and the colors isn't. And it wanted my film to. Give you a sense of place even when you are indoors. Who could Hebert once you get an advance that she she was then we you having that yearning indeed come I think these supposed to go together. I need to goats to. Honestly I would I would've gone to I would one resident New York or Atlanta or Chicago. You know what I felt was a big cities where. People were making movies and making theater and and doing. What I what I wanted to be doing. But they didn't get into UCLA and I tried out for their acting program and I didn't. Cook anything. Your heart out but I remembered meeting Stevens bill bragged at ninth and here at C and he he went along beach statement. Annie bet that you can indeed just got to stick it is going to be and that the one that you think you should get it yet there would be no pleasure if you didn't have any thing. It has in some rejection along the line where settlements rejections of sleep at night you may be your short life and career yes. Like what 25 men. I've made a lot of movies and it's was. Intimately early movies were so low budget vote in Iowa and some of that was tickled them mumble core mumbled more Matt spray and it was so so much of that Lance. I got to do everything because there was no one else to do it so it was both acting in the movies and also writing and then if I wasn't in the shot I was holding the boom or operating in the camera. Because it was it was sort of an all hands on tech situation. Good for me that and then going forward and writing co writing and acting. All of that became my old school and then swear island by craft and then when they finished. The draft of this script I've. It's now whenever there again this is this is you've got a script you want to do this than and they decided that say it should take the lions and just go for it. How is it with you working with actors as an actor they've. Peabody and search I think it's coming soon again and I just love for everything about errors that that Irish that he hasn't hurt its oh. Her and then she can just turn that off. Died. It's incredible machine she hit I mean she's so transforms. And that's part and anyone who'd sees the movie and then when we've done Q innings afterwards and insertion comes out with her Irish Jackson and that she's very glamorous than. People who like I cannot believe that's the thing. Through thin and that was even how it felt onset because she would nine. She didn't stay in her American accent in between takes she would go back and her Irish accent which is. It was quite the party tricks and she could she could just turn on a dime in it was it was amazing and she I remember her she she told me she didn't wanna stay in the American accent because. For her it was very important that should be. Friends with the crew and she said if I can't speak in my iris boys they won't ever really no way am I won't be friends with them as they. Do as you gotta do and in that it's going through you for your process than in getting go for it. But aiming for me because it does so much time as an actor I really feel lake one of mind Johns is to create the senses. You know safety and freedom for the actors and allow them to. Take big swings and make big mistakes. Because that's the only way you can get the WB grade stuff that's there. If they feel that they really own it characters. Bit I'm not always looking over their shoulders sort of nitpicking and I think that that was a big part of the rehearsal process and filming. Because I wrote it it comes from me and I'm also directing it. You really gives the the flame of the character to the actor and say now it's yours I don't know more than you about this person. You have to start telling me who the person says taking a wild them for them to believe you now. It did it yesterday there has to be a little bit yes I do in his right. Big fat but that I I tried to do things really early where I would have I would have that actors hanging out without me. That was a big part I want inventing and form connections of each other I would also sad. Meetings between the costume designers and that act with a custom designer April lea peered did an amazing job. And actors without me that they could start talking about that the person was and not feeling I was interfering and of course I would have. Color palate and mines and have an idea in mind that if only in a way of dressing yourself as a character is such a personal thing. And in a way I wanted to stay a little apart from that and just. Let them start to make creative active who is this person together so. I traded do you thing think that's good to pass the torch in the way. It's if it's great people I'm did it Timmy shouting was just here. And he said that same thing when you working with you he said there's like me can do it you can just do something you said I'm usually a nervous wreck. And I didn't get to be a nervous adjusted just. So he was so wonderful I mean that all of the people in the NBA name. I adore them I text to them all the time they feel late even the adults in the film feel I feel very maternal towards everybody and name. I call the moment kids who maternal do Laurie Metcalf and Traci that and we'll have a good low is low Mitt Mitt. I think it's no good and I'm mother review all yes bill illnesses are clean so you know he does everything she's the queen of and that that should to see her in the ninth. You know Lois Smith is now on Twitter she's. Twitter account which is to split everything you on the music earnings and much more hip than it. I don't know it's what I don't do anything and when an active social media but Louis Memphis Seattle clip is a 1000% cool that I am. Well what about what about. The critics that account in terms of a movie that you've made in Sacramento about Sacramento how do you parent three. Q yeah move. When my parents I showed my my family and and that's fine Graham before I showed the world the niceness and before premiered at higher and they love to mail call them speakerphone were crying they loved it and then we had a premiere in Sacramento. Which was at the tower theater in Sacramento which is where I grew up going to all the independent movies they they would play in the news it would come to town. And it with everyone in my life it was my entire families. My name second grade teacher. People at gun to school with since 06 years old and the mayor of Sacramento was there. My first crash his dad's like it was it was like it's a wonderful life. I like the first questions that come yes yes he does. And it felt my take honestly sitting there it was the last time and watched the movie all the way through. And sitting there with that audience but we you know before it opened for the world. And getting to be there and listen to them react to their city on the screen was them most moving thing that's ever happens to me and I was like. It will never Himmler emotional in this and should supplement and this was the maximum emotion that I can experience and and down and keep that would. No more are not seeing it with anybody else. I think that was the that this caller ultimate learning to do that Fiat will you damn done this. First full of directing. Additional written before it and you go back and looked at that. Films you've made before and learn from them or do you stay away from what you want done. Yeah I don't I don't actually it's funny I mean maybe a little later that day I don't haven't looked at older films that I have done. Ike sort of keep moving forward. I haven't maybe had enough distance in between things that. Maybe we will need to keep working to do that I mean we can always been moving toward that he'd be acting but. This is America and Francis time again you wrote with known Bob I want you these these this was you in there you know yes the US this wasn't some kind of idol. Thing you would trying out this is a gene commitment to. Having a writer's voice in what was happening that's re naming a I think to one of the reasons that I spent so long. Building up to this moment was and this sounds ridiculous but I I love movies so Lance an analyst cinema so much and I had this sense of not wanting to do it until I felt like I really how to handle on the craftsman. Because they didn't ones to. Disrespect the media. It sounds ridiculous because the medium doesn't care whether or not I'm doing it well the medium has no feeling at all immediately evident it's. But I I had some sense of really wanting to. To be able to. Hold lane old and in in in the sense. Of I know now how great movies have been made me feel and it wanted to have enough. Skill to. Get some of that in there and then I mean I learned so much on this movie and I just can't wait to get back in and make another one. On this show if we ended song. Only say completely forgot did the last time I knowing and not tell. It was not good and continue war I think thing Broadway baby. But I won't stop you. I think sing Broadway baby last time. I just thought there might be something that lady bird would have been her. He had that you would say. That I would change right now well it's all Sondheim for me we'll do X faster. OK so this is this is mean doing an imitation. Of search. Did singing everybody says down in the invested. But I can't sing the whole thing an ugly Ronaldo or we just ask for a little bit but I'm looking for backwardness and willing she says. Everybody says don't everybody says don't mean but he says don't do it isn't why don't did is in glass panes everybody says don't everybody says don't be but he says don't walk on the grass don't disturb the peace. Don't skate. On the do. Welcome back it was meant to feel eyes saying its sales still going meals and did you tell you. Bail. And it. That is that would like it did them all I'll say nobody should they don't give me. And for use the and I was. That.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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