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17. Because for Greta Gerwig, New York Is Still a Fairy Tale

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Frances Ha, the movie you wrote with Noah Baumbach and starred in, is about a woman who can’t seem to catch a break in New York. Why does she stay?
We wanted to show someone who is not guaranteed to stay. But Frances stays because she loves it, and I think she’s allowed to stay because she makes hard, practical decisions and gives up on a certain version of it in order to have another version.

Did the movie teach you anything about New York?
In a funny way, it’s like I got to experience the city how it is in my dreams. I’ve always known that I wanted to live here, and my whole life was figuring out how to get here and stay here. I think I responded to it in the same way that children respond to fairy tales. I still have moments when I’m walking down the street and I start crying because I can’t believe I live here. I’ve never danced through the streets like Frances does [to David Bowie’s “Modern Love”], but that was the best way I could communicate that feeling. I wanted to have a vial for my love of New York and inject the audience with it. [Laughs.] That sounds violent.


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