Greta Lee Is Dreaming of First Boyfriends and Pungent Roles
After crushing supporting roles in shows like Russian Doll and The Morning Show, Greta Lee is finally getting her main character moment. The 39-year-old Los Angeles native was at the Sundance Film Festival recently where her movie, Past Lives, was so rapturously received that it was already getting Oscar talk. In the A24 production, Lee stars opposite Teo Yoo and John Magaro as a woman reconnecting with a childhood friend. Back in Park City, she took a beat to answer some questions from the writings of Warhol.
ANDY WARHOL: Do you dream?
GRETA LEE: Very much so. I’ve heard you can spend some big bucks for a top notch dream analyst. But mine are horrifyingly obvious. Though I do have a mysterious recurring dream about my first boyfriend from middle school that pops up every three months. Hi Phil Youn!
WARHOL: Showers or baths?
WARHOL: Is there anything you regret not doing?
LEE: I don’t wanna talk about it.
WARHOL: What was your first job?
LEE: I cut my teeth at professional acting in NYC with a one-two punch of Law & Order: SVU and a hip-hop musical at the New York Music Theater Festival. I remember buying several rounds of drinks for my friends at that time, including the ones in finance, because I was so certain I had made it. Had to file for unemployment shortly after.
WARHOL: When do you get nervous?
LEE: When I have to tell my six year old it’s time to turn off the iPad.
WARHOL: Why can’t it just be magic all the time?
LEE: I don’t really like magic. Or magicians. I’m sorry.
WARHOL: What did you have for breakfast?
LEE: Two pieces of slightly stale injeolmi dduk (Korean rice cake) and a juice I make pumping through our Omega whatever greens we have in the fridge and our garden. Then at the coffee shop I negotiated a 50/50 croissant split with my three year old and ordered myself a “hot American oat” which is a hot americano with oat milk but three syllables easier to say.
WARHOL: What are you reading right now?
LEE: I just got chickens so I’m reading “How to keep your chickens alive” on the internet. I live in a part of L.A. where it feels like I’ve set up a vending machine for coyotes.
WARHOL: Where do you dance?
LEE: Actually dance is a huge part of my life. There’s a great book, Keep it Moving: Lessons for the Rest of Your Life by Twyla Tharp which reinvigorated my desire to take class. I’m not picky about where, sometimes it’s a hip-hop class at my gym and sometimes it’s something more serious with pros who are willing to put up with me.
WARHOL: Who’s your dream date?
LEE: My grandfather who passed when I was in college. He was a huge film buff from painting movie billboards at a U.S. army camp in South Korea. He named me after Greta Garbo. I really miss that guy and he would be fully stoked to see what I’m doing.
WARHOL: What do you think about love?
LEE: I believe in it. I like it. I’m into it.
WARHOL: What are your beauty secrets?
LEE: Don’t be an asshole and drink water!
WARHOL: Do you have a TV?
WARHOL: What do you love about New York City?
LEE: Everything. I’m gonna be buried there.
WARHOL: Do you keep a diary?
WARHOL: What are you most proud of?
LEE: My life with my family.
WARHOL: How many hotels have you been kicked out of?
LEE: This is a crazy question. When I’m staying at a hotel I am overflowing with gratitude. I am immaculate. I am a model guest angling for an upgrade or an extended stay.
WARHOL: Are you a good cook?
LEE: I am.
WARHOL: Do you get depressed if you don’t work?
LEE: When I was starting out, absolutely. Now I cherish the breaks like it’s my job.
WARHOL: Do you have a dream role?
LEE: A period piece with prosthetics? Big teeth! Something very physical or athletic? Something where I can sing? Something that’s brutally earnest? I once heard Barry Jenkins use the word “pungent” to describe a project. I’m up for pungent. I don’t have a specific role in mind. But I’ll know it when I see it.