'I find it heartbreaking:' Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig on Hollywood misconduct revelations

For her directorial debut, writer-director Greta Gerwig tried to create an atmosphere on-set where every person felt valued.

New generation of filmmakers could 'occupy power within, and not power over,' she says

Greta Gerwig says that ending sexual harassment in the entertainment industry rests in passing the torch to young, diverse filmmakers. (Scott Gries/Invision/The Associated Press)

For her solo directorial debut, Greta Gerwig included some of what she loves the most from the movie-making process: a substantial rehearsal process and creating an atmosphere on-set where every person felt valued.

It's something that strikes to the heart of the scandals now plaguing Hollywood, where a growing number of women and men are coming forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against powerful figures.

"It's very easy to create a set where the actors count. Or the [director of photography] counts or the director counts," Gerwig told CBC's Eli Glasner.

"But, I feel like everyone from the [production assistants] on up should be counted as a whole person, because I feel like everyone's spirit and effort goes into what the movie is."

While Hollywood, its dramatic power imbalance and toxic workplace culture are under the spotlight right now, "it seems to be a larger problem in general," she added.

"I love film so much and I only ever want that to be a place where people can be vulnerable and can be passionate and excited about this and not have it be something that's abused for someone else's power grab — and I find it heartbreaking."

The California-born actor has spent a lot of time on movie sets, having appeared in more than two dozen films in the past 10 years. She stepped behind the camera to write and direct her first feature film, Lady Bird, which The New York Times has called "big-screen perfection."

It opens in theatres Friday.

Greta Gerwig is pictured here with cinematographer Sam Levy on the set of her directorial debut, Lady Bird. (Merie Wallace/A24)

Amid the mounting sexual harassment allegations in the film industry, Gerwig says that the answer rests with a changing of the guard.

"I was at a film festival [in October]... and we were talking about Patty Jenkins and Dee Rees and Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow and all these amazing female filmmakers who are kind of both established and also the new ones coming up," she explained.

"I feel like that's really, to me, where the solution is to so much of this, is passing the torch to these young, diverse filmmakers, both male and female, but who are able to occupy power within, and not power over."​

'Every single person on-set counts:' Lady Bird's Greta Gerwig

5 years ago
Duration 2:37
The actor-turned-filmmaker talks to CBC's Eli Glasner about putting her own life experiences into her directorial debut.