While everyone is fighting over “Rise of Skywalker” and “Cats,” Greta Gerwig’s Oscar-hopeful adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” is out there screaming at you because you are choosing to see weird and/or bad movies instead of good ones. While most if not all filmmakers ask someone for advice when making a film, Gerwig had none other than Steven Speilberg to give some counsel on how to best portray the setting of the film.
While participating in The Hollywood Reporter’s “A Revolution of Cinema” director roundtable, Gerwig discussed meeting with Steven Spielberg, who noted that “Little Women” is set around the same time as his film “Lincoln.” As Gerwig tells it, Spielberg asked her to explain the story of the film, to “practice sitting there and telling someone the story. And then he instantly came up with images and thoughts.” the director explained. “And then I showed him the film and he talked to me for a long time. He talked through the film from his memory, as he remembered the movie. It’s almost like he gave me back the movie.”
Spielberg was also instrumental in how the film was shot. “He opened up every piece of research he had done. How he’d decided to light things, given that it was all candlelight, how he decided to shoot interiors,” the director said. “And he opened the camera he shot Jurassic Park with and he had me smell celluloid, because he said, ‘You have to shoot on film. It smells different. You cannot shoot a story that takes place in 1861 digitally. I won’t let you do it!’ And so I actually did end up shooting on film.”
Well, that’s certainly one reason to shoot on film. They say film is a multisensory experience, but because Smell-O-Vision never taking off as it could have, we cannot say for sure if you can smell the difference between “Lincoln” and, say, “Avengers: Endgame.” According to Gerwig, when Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman asked why she wanted to shoot on film, she blamed it all on Spielberg. We could all use Steven Spielberg as a scapegoat in our lives.