A Small Circle of Friends - Plus Mom and Dad
Wein and Lister-Jones bring their finely honed acting instincts to their
years of intense training in one of the nation's top theater and film schools.
craft rich and authentic characters that offer the kind of challenge that actors
relish taking on,
which helped attract top actors to their second project. "This is definitely an
ensemble film," says
Lister-Jones. "Every character is fully imagined and has something important to
do. We are lucky
enough to have an incredible cast that understands and embodies those
LOLA VERSUS' impressive ensemble of veterans and newcomers was assembled by
filmmakers with the help of casting directors Suzanna Smith Crowley and Jessica
script was smart and witty, so the challenge was finding actors that could
handle the comedy
without going too broad," says Kelly. "I think we found exactly the right actors
for these roles.
Greta Gerwig is a great leading lady. She's fearless, likeable and funny, like
Linklater is brilliant, quirky and sensitive like Henry. Joel Kinnaman is
intense and charismatic
like Luke, and Zoe is that adorable, fun best friend that pushes the envelope,
The film's unconventional heroine, Lola, was a challenging role to fill, says
Michael London. "As a character, she has so many flaws. She can be unlikeable at
times. But I'm
drawn to characters who make mistakes. When good people are allowed to do bad
you can fall in love with them again when they redeem themselves. We needed an
the guts and talent to make it her own, as well as the charm to hold the
through those tough moments."
Greta Gerwig brings an unconventional beauty, startling bravura and great
to the role, says the producer. "It would be hard to imagine the movie without
Greta," he adds.
"She has a style that is all her own. Greta is not an actress you can bend
around the character. She
doesn't speak or look like other actresses. From the moment we heard the words
come out of her
mouth, she became an inescapable version of the character."
Gerwig first garnered critical recognition in 2010 when she starred opposite
Ben Stiller in
Noah Baumbach's GREENBERG, then followed up with a leading role in a big-budget
the classic comedy ARTHUR, opposite Russell Brand. Most recently, she starred in
Stillman's long-awaited fourth feature, DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, and will soon be
Woody Allen's TO ROME WITH LOVE.
"We had been following Greta's career for a long time," says producer
Simpson. "It was
exciting to have the opportunity to cast someone on the verge of being a movie
star and showcase
her to the world in a new way."
Well-connected in New York's relatively small film community, Gerwig was
familiar with Wein and Lister-Jones' earlier work. "It felt very fortuitous,"
the actress says. "We
all live in New York. We saw each other a lot socially right before I was cast.
I think it was just
meant to be."
"Lola is a good friend and a good daughter, someone following a plan and
schedule," says the actress. "She's headed for a safe academic life. It's almost
a continuation of
college, just like her relationship with Luke is. Certainly it's hard to go to
graduate school or
maintain a long relationship, but for Lola, it's the safe option. When Luke
pulls the rug out from
under her, she has to figure out what she's doing. It's a different kind of
because ultimately the person Lola is trying to get together with is herself."
But as the character tries to manage the precarious path to independence, she
alarmingly self-involved, often alienating the people who most want to help her.
"She can't seem
to get off of her own hamster wheel," says Gerwig. "She's definitely not a cute
mess, which I
like. She's just a mess."
Portrayed by another actress, Lola might have come off as self-indulgent,
says Wein, but
Gerwig never makes obvious choices for the character. "As we rehearsed, Greta
and I worked
hard to find different, more hopeful and inspiring moments for her. Lola is
happening, as opposed to wallowing in her own sorrow."
Gerwig's emotional range and technical versatility inspired the other actors,
Wein. "Every other take we'd try something new. She's not afraid of that. She's
very loose and
good at being real. She listens very well, which makes her able to gauge what
the other actor is
giving her and respond in the moment."
The actress says she prefers to keep her options open as a scene unfolds. "I
tend not to
repeat what I do from take to take," Gerwig says. "I have an idea of what things
should be and
I'm prepared going into the scene. But sometimes it's worth it when a take goes
because it jostles something else."
Lola's erstwhile fiancĂ©, Luke, is a handsome and sensitive visual artist who
for a prestigious solo show of his paintings based on images from celebrity sex
tapes. Luke is
played by Joel Kinnaman, the Swedish actor best known for his breakout role in
AMC's hit series
"The Killing." He was recently featured in SAFE HOUSE, with Denzel Washington,
Fincher's THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and will star in the upcoming
ROBOCOP reboot. Kinnaman manages to keep the character sympathetic even after he
"It was a tough character to write," says Lister-Jones. "We made no
distinction between hero and villain. He had to be someone the audience could
get behind. Joel is
the sexiest man alive, which helps. He also refuses to apologize for Luke's
flaws, which is a
brave thing for an actor to do. Joel plays Luke as a thoughtful guy who realizes
he can't marry
Lola right now, even though it would have been much easier to just go along with
Kinnaman brought his own strong opinions about the character to the set. "I
first on my intuitions," the actor says. "He is a good person with a big heart.
His actions are both
selfish and also selfless. Unfortunately, he is stuck being the adult and making
decision. Daryl added his own touches. He is both very opinionated and very
relaxed. He's got
good taste for both comedy and style and a really good ear."
The actor says he also found himself caught up in Gerwig's distinctive style
"Greta has a very special, natural comedic energy around her that is just
wonderful to watch. She
is unique as an actress. She remains very natural while making big, bold
choices, and I rolled with
that, which was fun."
Lola's perennially single but always hopeful girlfriend Alice was conceived
Jones in mind, a rising talent who stars on the television series "Whitney."
"Daryl and Zoe always
wanted her to play Alice," says London. "She is the quintessential best friend
and comic foil, and
she runs away with almost every scene she's in."
Alice's romantic misadventures represent the worst-and sometimes the
what Lister-Jones discovered during her year as a single woman. "Her
expectations have been
depleted over the years," she explains. "She gets excited when the breakup
brings her friend back
to her and she has a wing woman again. They start going out to clubs, partying,
finding dudes to
have sex with. That's a good solution, right? And she copes with the
disappointment and anxiety
by telling herself things like, 'maybe I'll adopt a foreign baby like all of the
movie stars, or freeze
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