Maybe every one of the 2018 Best Picture nominees will get a sequel. Just this week, we heard that Gary Oldman hopes to reprise his Oscar-nominated role as Winston Churchill for another historical drama. Previously, there's been talk of follow-ups to Call Me By Your Name and Get Out. If you think about it, The Post already has a sequel retroactively with All the President's Men. But while we await Guillermo del Toro's hints of The Shape of Water II, another of the top Academy Award contenders has just been added to the pile of potential second-film spawners.
Greta Gerwig appeared as a guest on this week's inaugural episode of A24's new podcast, and while talking about their Best Picture hopeful, Lady Bird, the filmmaker admitted interest in revisiting at least the setting of that coming-of-age drama, the city of Sacramento, California. Here's what she said about her hopes that Lady Bird is the start of something bigger, via Film School Rejects:
I’d like to make a total of four films that take place there, I would like to do a quartet of Sacramento films…it’s inspired by the Elena Ferrante Neapolitan Quartet. She wrote these four books that took place mainly in Naples. They are so great, and I thought, "Oh I would like to do that." This is one part of Sacramento, but there are a lot of different parts of Sacramento that I would like to explore too. I feel like I have the privilege of being from a place…I can actually speak to it with some feeling.
The way Gerwig describes the idea, her "Sacramento Quartet" would seem to involve no narrative connections. But Ferrante's four books do follow the same characters, and perhaps that would also be the intention for the three or so follow-ups to Lady Bird. The thing is, the future for that movie's protagonist doesn't likely involve Sacramento. At least not until Saoirse Ronan's character grows up and becomes a successful actress turned director who returns to her hometown to make a movie inspired by her own final year of high school...
Another way of looking at the series would be, as FSR presumes, akin to Stephen King's tradition of setting stories basically in his hometown of Bangor, Maine. Sacramento would be to Gerwig what Baltimore is to Barry Levinson and John Waters, or what New York is to Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese, or what Chicago was to John Hughes. Most of those filmmakers similarly started out looking at their own backgrounds and where they grew up as great fodder for semi-autobiographical fiction, and then they just continued to favor that location.
Although Lady Bird is Gerwig's solo directorial debut, she has written other movies inspired by her own life. Frances Ha, which she co-wrote with its director, Noah Baumbach, is partly set in and shot in Sacramento. Last year, another FSR writer posed the idea that Lady Bird is already part of a "Greta Gerwig Cinematic Universe," a trilogy of semi-autobiographical movies (the others being Frances Ha and Mistress America) produced in backwards chronological order. So would that mean that Lady Bird could be the end of one set of movies, a trio, and the start of another set, a quartet - or is this just what an auteur does anyway?
Whatever happens to come after Lady Bird, we do know for sure the chance of another Best Picture nominee getting a part two: Martin McDonagh declared last fall about his movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: "There won't be a sequel."