Noah Baumbach Says Goodbye to Youth with ‘Frances Ha’

Pic centers on the eponymous character’s quarter-life exploits through Gotham

Francis Ha Premiere Noah Baumbach

“Part of this movie is about the death of youth,” said Greta Gerwig. “The moment when you pass out of your youth, which I think happens around 27 or 28, is fascinating and heart-breaking at the same time, but ultimately, you have to do it because there’s no other way to become an adult.”

Thesp-scribe Gerwig and scribe-helmer Noah Baumbach joined a full house of viewers May 1 for the L.A. preem of IFC Films’ “Frances Ha” at the Vista Theater, where, after the screening, the crowd got to toss some questions at the filmmakers.

Pic centers on the eponymous character’s (Gerwig) quarter-life exploits through Gotham as a wannabe dancer. In the black-and-white flick, Frances seeks to stabilize her life, in terms of finances, friendships and love, traveling, on a whim, to Paris, opening up to strangers and taking jobs for the sake of taking jobs.

Onstage, Baumbach and Gerwig discussed certain drafts of the script, Joseph Conrad’s “The Shadow Line” and the film’s digital, colorless format—which Baumbach said they “treated the shit out of”—among other things. One audience member brought up what he called the “fool-hardy” trip to Paris.

“The question is: Why did we waste your time with a trip to Paris?” Baumbach ribbed. “We thought it would be that much funnier if you knew that the crew actually went to Paris, too.”

“It is supposed to serve a dramatic arc,” Gerwig added. “But I don’t know if it did for you.”

Gerwig and Baumbach also touched on the collaborative process, as both share writing credits on the film.

“It’s hard for me to think about writing something if I think about myself doing it,” Gerwig said. “So I had to imagine a better actress doing it.”

Noah said: “Cate Blanchett passed.”

“Right,” Gerwig quipped. “We offered it to her and Meryl Streep. But she was like, ‘I don’t think I can play 27.’”

Attendees were able to revel at an after party at nearby El Chavo, though Baumbach and Gerwig did most of their mingling outside the Vista, where they shared moments from their own quarter-life crises and humble beginnings.

“There was a telemarketing job one summer in high school that I was rejected for,” Baumbach recalled. “I still walk by the building that I actually had the interview in. It’s still in New York, and I always think about that job and why I didn’t get it.”

“I was a very bad waitress,” Gerwig said. “And I was fired from a couple waitressing jobs. I’m bad at any job that is urgent but not important. Those jobs, some part of my brain just shuts down and I can’t do them.”