I’ve gotten in the habit of concluding many interviews, and all Collider FYC interviews, by asking the talent to name an unsung hero of the production. This awards season, we’ve had the pleasure of celebrating a Golden Globe nomination for Saoirse Ronan, BAFTA nominations for Florence Pugh and Greta Gerwig, and so many more nods for Little Women but as we all well know, there are many, many people needed to see a feature film through to completion and this unsung hero question is about recognizing those incredible talents we need to know more about. And it’s a good thing I posed the question to Gerwig during our Collider FYC screening of Little Women at the ArcLight Hollywood because she had an especially impassioned answer that nearly moved her to tears.
Gerwig, Ronan, Pugh and casting director Francine Maisler certainly gave the impression that the collaboration on Little Women was an especially successful and fulfilling one all around, but Gerwig chose to put the spotlight on first AD Jonas Spaccarotelli in particular:
“I’m so emotional this week. I might start crying. My first AD, Jonas Spaccarotelli, worked with me on Lady Bird, he worked with me on this movie. He’s like my other brain in filmmaking. It’s funny because as a collaborator I’m so obviously close to Saoirse [Ronan]; it’s like one leg of a stool in a way, the three of us.”
Gerwig went on to explain why Spaccarotelli’s work stood out and why a first AD’s creative thinking could get overlooked:
“And I feel like first ADs never get enough credit for how creative they are because I think people think, I don’t know, it takes these very particular talents of scheduling and kind of keeping the day going but Jonas would do this thing – he would always try, as much as we had to get through – so many scenes, four different plots, two timelines, four seasons over 10 years – and he would always try to think about structuring the day emotionally, think about structuring the week emotionally knowing that we had to skip around in the timeline a lot but being very sensitive to where the actors were.”
Do we need some sort of award season recognition for first ADs? Gerwig and Ronan certainly think so. But Gerwig laughed and pointed out one potential flaw in having a first AD awards show:
“I mean, he really is my right hand man when I’m making movies and, I don’t know, first ADs, give them all the gold. They should have their own awards show but they wouldn’t show up because they’d be working too f*cking hard. They’d show up and be like, ‘I could organize this so much better. What the f*ck is wrong with you people?’”
You can watch our full Collider FYC chat at the ArcLight Hollywood in the video at the top of this article. And if you’re looking for even more FYC conversations, we also have our video interview with Booksmart director Olivia Wilde and stars Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever up and running right here.