Awards season has barely begun, but already there’s one movie that seems to be dominating the conversation: Lady Bird. Written and directed by Greta Gerwig, the coming-of-age film set in early 2000s Sacramento just yesterday broke a Rotten Tomatoes record to become the best-reviewed film of all time on the site. (The previous record holder was Toy Story 2.)
Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf are deservedly receiving abundant praise for their roles as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson and her mother Marion McPherson, respectively – but there’s no shortage of other performances to love in this movie. Odeya Rush – whom we loved in The Giver – is also great as Jenna Walton, the beautiful, rich, popular girl we all wanted to be in high school.
In another movie, Jenna might be a bully or something similarly predictable. Here, she forms an unlikely friendship with Lady Bird and gets her own moments of humanity and comedy.
We had the chance to chat with Odeya about her role in Lady Bird, as well as another coming-of-age film we’re excited about, Almost Friends (which she stars in alongside Freddie Highmore) – not to mention the upcoming film adaptation of Julie Murphy’s Dumplin‘.
Odeya had only positive things to say about her experience working on Lady Bird – from Saoirse Ronan’s “ongoing positivity” – “She’s really one of the most lovely people that I’ve ever met,” Rush said – to the relaxed vibe Greta Gerwig created on set.
I was struck by Laurie Metcalf’s description of this “supportive and collaborative and calm” environment that Gerwig established, even on her solo directorial debut, in Entertainment Weekly – which Rush confirmed. “It was the same thing,” she said. “Greta was so prepared that the set could be that relaxed. She didn’t change many lines, she gave us the freedom to be ourselves and was not judgmental. She was very nice and welcoming, and the set was full of laughter.”
If you’ve already seen Lady Bird and are looking for more awesomeness, check out Almost Friends. The movie follows Freddie Highmore as Charlie, a once promising young chef who is, well, stuck. He now lives at home with his mother and stepfather while working as an assistant manager at a movie theatre. However, his life soon takes a turn when he finds himself following for local barista Amber (Rush). Things get more complicated from there, but it looks like the kind of love story we can get behind.
Odeya described the film as “a beautiful love story,” and one that many young adults may find hits close to home. “A lot of times there aren’t a lot of movies about the years before college and the struggle of being lost – what Freddie’s character is going through,” she said. “Knowing something needs to be different but not sure what. You just feel like you need to shake things up. The movie captures that beautifully.”
We are also eagerly awaiting the movie Dumplin‘, adapted from the YA novel of the same name by Julie Murphy, which follows self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean “Dumplin'” Dickson as she enters a beauty pageant to win over a boy she likes and stick it to the other boys at school. Rush will play Ellen “El” Dryver, Willowdean’s best friend, who complicates things when she decides to enter the beauty pageant as well.
Though Odeya couldn’t tease too much about the movie, which hits theaters next year, she did express how much she enjoyed filming with a female writer, director, author, and mainly female cast of ladies who were “badass and amazing to work with.” “It was so much fun making it [with this] amazing sisterhood,” she said.
We loved Odeya Rush in Lady Bird and we can’t wait to see what she does next – starting with Almost Friends and Dumplin’. We have a feeling we’ll be seeing this bright young talent on the big screen for a long time to come.
Lady Bird is in theaters now. Almost Friends is available now in theaters, On Demand, and on Digital HD.
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