Greta Gerwig 'selfishly' made Saoirse Ronan audition for Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig knew she had to direct Lady Bird as soon as she'd completed the script.

Greta Gerwig made Saoirse Ronan audition for Lady Bird even though she instantly knew the actress was the perfect choice.

The Frances Ha actress spent years working on the script for Lady Bird, which follows a 17-year-old girl navigating teenage life in the early 2000s, and Saoirse was one of the names brought up in one of her first meetings with her producers.

She met the Irish actress at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and read the script at a hotel, and although Greta knew Saoirse was the one to play Christine 'Lady Bird' McPherson, she still made her audition.

"I knew on page two that she was Lady Bird," Greta told The Hollywood Reporter magazine. "(But) I selfishly wanted to hear the entire thing read out loud."

The 34-year-old had always harboured a desire to direct but she didn't know when she would make her debut until she completed the first draft of the script, which was originally called Mothers and Daughters and far too long.

"I tend to overwrite," Greta confessed. "I'm not one of those people who say, 'I wrote a script in two weeks!'"

Producer Scott Rudin committed himself to the project after 24 hours of reading it and although the process was relatively simple, Greta didn't believe it would happen until the cameras starting rolling.

"I've worked on so many indies, I know that financing is always falling through," she explained.

Once the shoot was underway, she ran a tight ship to make sure it stayed on schedule.

"We were like her kids," Saoirse added. "What makes a great director is also what makes a great parent - knowing how to discipline their children but also (letting them) know that they are completely loved."

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