She’s the queen of mumblecore, but Hollywood has come calling on Greta Gerwig, first for last year’s Greenberg and now for Arthur. Paul Byrne dons his turtleneck.

So, the New York Times give you the full parade – big colour spread, nothing but praise from their leading film critic, A.O. Scott, and what do you do? You ignore it, apparently. At least, that’s what Greta Gerwig – mumblecore’s pin-up, now making a noise in the mainstream, with Greenburg and this week’s Arthur – decided to do.

“I just couldn’t bring myself to read it,” smiles the 27-year old, Sacramento-born actress, playwright and filmmaker. “It was kind of overwhelming. I’ll read it when I’m good and old, and I need to feel good about myself.”

Gerwig might just need a boost after the slaughtering Arthur has gotten at the box-office and with the critics. Although, to be fair, Gerwig comes out smelling of roses. With just a tint of Nag Champa.

When I met up with her in London’s Dorchester Hotel earlier in the week, after a few words about her idols Woody Allen and, eh, Alan Partridge, we got down to some serious chat.

PAUL BYRNE: Few important messages here – don’t judge a book by its cover, money can’t solve every problem, and Nick Nolte is even scarier when scrubbed and shaved…

GRETA GERWIG: Yeah, Nick Nolte is terrifying…

The biggest shock, coming from Ireland, was to learn that alcoholism isn’t a good thing…

[Laughs] Yes, it’s not a good thing.

Back in 1981, when the original Arthur was released, greed was good, and excess was the great escape, but we live in a very different time now…

I don’t mean to answer your question so sincerely, but, yes, the Eighties celebrated greed and wealth, and now, there’s a definite backswing because of certain economic realities, but I think the disparity of wealth is still very, very great. Especially in America. The gap between the very wealthy and the rest of us is huge. So, in some ways, it still reflects a certain reality, especially in New York. You have fabulously wealthy people rubbing against some not-so-fabulously wealthy people. But that’s the great thing about New York – you can literally bump into a billionaire.

Right now though, people just don’t like ‘pampered pricks’ – as Arthur calls himself. Extreme wealth is no longer an aspiration thing – it’s a revenge thing…

Right. I think after all of this stuff came down about everything, people kinda realized that a lot of them were living in a gilded cage. They didn’t have real freedom; it was just a nicer cage.

Some people might know you already from Greenberg, but in certain circles, you’re a goddess. Thanks to such lo-fi films as LOL and Nights & Weekends – which uyou also co-wrote and co-directed – the New York Observer dubbed you ‘mumblecore’s Meryl Streep’. Plus, there’s that little New York Times piece. Are you a cuckoo in the mainstream arena?

I love both kinds of filmmaking – I love small films, and I love huge films. I grew up feeling that cinema was so many things. I mean, I don’t see it as being one way. I think independent films and studio films are in a constant dialogue with one another, and they influence each other, and I’m so grateful to be part of both. And I hope that I keep getting to do both. Knock on wood, I think it’s possible. I don’t know…

A.O. Scott reckons you might be the definitive actress of your generation, citing yourself and Michelle Williams whose method when it comes to acting, he reckons, is no method. True or false?

Well, I never started with a plan, or an agenda, or a mission statement about what I was doing. I simply did the best that I knew how at any given moment, and did it in a way that felt genuine and correct for me. Anytime that I’ve developed any kind of plan, it never works out anyway. I think any time in your life where you say, ‘Here’s where I’m going – this direction’, you inevitably get pulled in another direction. So, I think that I’m just trying to stay open, and not listen too much to critics who say that I’m good, because either one, you can be led astray…

Arthur is out now in Irish cinemas