On Wednesday, August 12, 2015, Fox Searchlight pictures presented the New York premiere of “Mistress America” at Landmark Sunshine Cinema. In the film, Tracy (Lola Kirke) is a lonely college freshman in New York, having neither the exciting university experience nor the glamorous metropolitan lifestyle she envisioned. But when she is taken in by her soon-to-be stepsister, Brooke (Greta Gerwig) – a resident of Times Square and adventurous gal about town – she is rescued from her disappointment and seduced by Brooke’s alluringly mad schemes. Following the screening, guests made their way over to Top of the the Standard. The film was directed by Noah Baumbach, co-writtend by Noah and Greta Gerwig, and produced by Noah, Scott Rudin, Lila Yacoub, Rodrigo Teixeira and Greta Gerwig. It stars Greta and soon to be super star Lola Kirke.
Actors from the film in attendance included Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke, Heather Lind, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Matthew Shear, Cindy Cheung and Rebecca Henderson. Filmmakers spotted included: Noah Baumbach (director), Oscar Boyson (co-producer), Dean Wareham (music), Britta Phillips (music), and Sam Levy (cinematographer). Other guests included Marisa Tomei, Sam Rockwell, Jemima Kirke, Wes Anderson, Darren Aronofsky, John Cameron Mitchell, Taylor Hackford, Whit Stilman, Brian De Palma, Salman Rushdie, James Murphy, Adam Horovitz, Tavi Gevinson, Lola Schnabel, Griffin Dunne, Grace Dunham, The National’s Scott Devendorf, Zac Posen, Waris Ahluwalia, Leslye Headland, Ramin Bahrani, Jake Paltrow, Geoffrey Fletcher, Ry Russo-Young, Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, Pamela Romanowksy, Lori Petty, Jake Hoffman, Saffron Burrows, Wallace Shawn and Tony Revolori. Read our exclusive red carpet interviews below:
Shaina Moskowitz: Congratulations. Speak about the writing process for this film.
GG: Noah and I wrote this together as we wrote Frances Ha together. It’s really fun, it’s just so pleasurable to share the experience of creating a whole world and characters with another person. It’s a lot of talking and then a lot of going off in our own corners and writing and then sharing what we’ve written. It feels like what it would be like to write an album with someone. I don’t know what that feels like because I’ve never done it but I’m guessing.
SM: Speak about bringing Lola on board and what made her so awesome.
GG: I love Lola Kirke. She’s a tremendous actress and number one girl. I feel very lucky that we found her and we auditioned lots of girls but she just instantly felt right. She’s funny without trying to be, she’s beautiful without trying to be. She’s someone that you want to watch go on a journey.
SM: After “Frances Ha,” which is a great movie, you’re kind of being known as an indie it girl. How are you responding to that?
GG: Oh. Being an it girl is a terrible thing to be told you are because then you’re going to be has been girl at some point but it’s flattering.
SM: What’s your number one advice for a twenty something coming to the City?
GG: Keep your overhead low! Do not spend a lot of money on clothes, it doesn’t matter.
SM: Talk about the script.
Lola Kirke: What I loved about this script was first and foremost that I didn’t read the script until after I had been cast in the movie. I was relieved that it was an awesome script because I think that Noah and Greta are very compelling names and when you’re in anyone’s position, but especially when you’ve never made a movie before, it’s just cool to get to do work. I love the script because it explored a new kind of narrative about female friendship and about the ethics of being an artist and I think just about growing up in general.
SM: Speak about working in New York. You’re from New York, right?
LK: I am, yeah. It was really cool to work in New York, especially to play a character that is new to the city because I grew up here. I’m so envious of people that get to see it with new eyes. That was really fun, it was a really good experience.
SM: What do you love about Greta?
LK: What makes Greta so cool is everything. She’s wildly talented, she’s a brilliant writer, an incredible performer. There’s really very few like her and she’s trying to do something different which is really refreshing.
SM: Talk about what you’re wearing today.
Heather Lind: I’m wearing vintage Lilly Daché and I have a vintage Gucci clutch. I love vintage clothes and I went to New York Vintage.
SM: Any particular shops?
HL: I love Beacon’s Closet in Williamsburg which isn’t really vintage but thrift, anything old that’s been warn before I just feel safer and better in.
SM: Talk a little about the role you play in this movie.
HL: I play a woman named Maimi Claire who is Greta’s character’s nemesis, I would say. I get talked about for a long time, all of it is untrue. Then, you meet me and you discover that I’m just a ray of sunshine.
SM: What’s it like playing Greta’s nemesis?
HL: It was great. I just get to be a real jerk to her in the beginning and then we develop a relationship again. We’ve been estranged for a few years for many reasons. In the second half of the movie, you’ll meet me and get to discover why Greta hates me so much.
SM: What did you love about the script?
HL: The writing. It’s so witty, sharp, clever, and funny. Noah and Greta together write really long scenes. I come from a theater background and it felt really comforting to just get to run through things over and over again. Find what I needed to in the language. They’re both smarter than almost anyone I’ve ever met.
SM: Can you speak a little bit about what you’re working on next?
HL: Yeah, I’m on a television show called “Turn: Washington Spies” on AMC. We start shooting our third season in November. I’m in a film called “Demolition” coming out at Toronto Film Festival.
SM: Talk a little about the role you play in this movie.
Cindy Cheung: I play Karen, a pregnant woman who’s there for a book club meeting and I’m waiting for my husband, Ted, to pick me up.
SM: What was it like working with Noah?
CC: It was great. He’s wonderful and funny, it was really a dream come true; I love his movies so much. It’s really special.
SM: Speak about collaborating with Greta.
CC: Oh, she’s so smart and funny and comes up with things right on the fly that are more intelligent than I could ever come up with on my own. She’s wonderful, a really down-to-earth person.
SM: What was the highlight of this experience?
CC: I think it was getting to be in a Noah Baumbach movie. I really just couldn’t believe it, that it starts from a little audition and it becomes getting to meet him and work with him. It was fun to shoot scenes many, many, many times.
SM: Are you a New York-based actor or L.A. based?
CC: New York-based. I’m from L.A. originally but I’ve been here for 20 years now. I had the baby that was in my stomach during the filming.
SM: You were really pregnant?
CC: Super pregnant, yeah. I gave birth three days after we wrapped. My son is two and half now. Two and half years ago.
SM: What’s coming up next for you?
CC: I’ve got some TV stuff coming, a pilot for USA Network called “Falling Water” and a spot on “House of Cards.”
SM: Talk about the character you play in the film?
Matthew Shear: I play a character named Tony. He’s a freshman at Columbia University. He’s very passionate about literature, even though he doesn’t really have much to work with for his passion, he hasn’t really read much. He’s really just going out there and kind of showing the world that he is a guy who is an academic. It’s a little pretentious. It’s really well done.
SM: Speak about working with Noah.
MS: Noah is such a smart and easy guy to work with. He’s very serious but has a really playful sense of humor so we were always laughing on set. It was a great time and I loved working with him.
SM: Are you a New York-based actor?
MS: Yep, I am.
SM: What was it like filming in New York?
MS: It was great. To be able to go home is nice at the end of the day or night. To be able to shoot on the upper west side, on the lower east side, off the west side highway looking over the Hudson River. It felt really good to be able to be in such iconic places and to be working on a movie.