Rising Star: Greta Gerwig

Every month, some magazine somewhere, collects a host of late teen and early 20-something actresses together under the banner of “New Young Hollywood,” “The New Class,” or “Hollywood’s Freshest Faces.” The reality is though, most of the women in these features aren’t really new at all.

They’ve more than likely been a part of Hollywood’s orbit for a while, doing things like playing second fiddle to a British A-lister in a Jane Austen film, or making a young Lindsay Lohan cry on screen by starring as “Popular Teen #3” in “Mean Girls.”

Greta Gerwig, AccessHollywood.com’s newest Rising Star, hasn’t such a resume. She grew up in Sacramento, Calif., far away from the opportunity to be a former “Mickey Mouse Club” member or to get a part as a raging teen that gets killed in an episode of “Law & Order.”

Although she grew up engaging in local performing arts, as far as Hollywood goes, Greta Gerwig is truly a new face.

The 25-year-old had just a handful of quiet indie film credits over the last couple of years – including in the Access Hollywood Scott “Movie” Mantz approved 2009 horror pic, “The House of the Devil” – before she lined up the female lead alongside superstar Ben Stiller in “Greenberg,” which opens today (April 1).

“I think she’s incredible I think she’s just this amazing actress,” Ben told Access of his co-star, who plays Florence, his love interest in the Noah Baumbach character-led drama, which offers some bits of very uncomfortable comedy.

The project will no doubt bring attention on the luminous 5’ 9” blonde, not just because she’s alongside Ben in his first serious role in about a decade, but because the beauty, with her green flecked, bewitching amber eyes, is talented and engaging in her part.

“She’s an amazing comedic actress, she’s got this beautiful spirit,” Ben continued. “She’s incredibly self assured at a young age and she’s a really great person and I think it’s exciting to be in a movie with her that’s gonna introduce her to a lot of people.”

The story centers around Ben’s character, the driver’s license-free Roger Greenberg, an aging, failed rocker, who heads out to Los Angeles to housesit for his brother, Phillip. It’s there, while reconnecting with former close friends, he meet’s Phillip’s assistant, Florence (played by Greta), and the two begin an awkward, yet true-to-life romance on the East Side of LA.

Despite working with the face of “Zoolander,” “Tropic Thunder,” “Night At The Museum 1 & 2,” and many more films, the unintimidated actress took a gentle, straight-faced approach with the superstar.

“I think Noah wanted us to maintain a certain level of discomfort with each other in order to accentuate the awkwardness between Florence and Roger,” Greta explained to Access. “But Ben was so instantly giving and 100 percent in his role and really, it just allowed me to throw myself in there with him.”

There was some occasional funny time, though.

“He wasn’t funny in between takes. He was funny off set. I mean, once the day was done, he can definitely make me spit out my soda through my nose,” she laughed.

Since filming “Greenberg,” the word of her stunning performance has trickled through Hollywood. And it’s led to more roles for the beauty. She recently told her hometown paper, The Sacramento Bee, that she’s actually had the luxury of being able to turn work down. There is one project, however, Greta told Access, she said “yes” to.

“I can’t talk about it,” she said. “I knock wood. I’m hoping that everything works out as I want it to… It’s not of this century. It’s of a previous century.

Any more hints, Access asked.

“Yeah, costumes… possible fast talking career gals,” she noted.

Shoulder pads?

“Think earlier, maybe post-Depression Era. Actually, I’m telling you everything about [it],” she laughed heartily. “I don’t know what I’m saying, but yeah, I’m dying to do something that has an element of an older era to it, it would be very fun.”

“Greenberg” starring Ben Stiller and Greta Gerwig opens today.

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