When writer/director Whit Stillman wrote the screenplay for his latest film, Damsels in Distress, he drew inspiration from his days as a college student at (maybe you've heard of it) Harvard University.

"I was inspired a little bit because I’d been so miserable in University myself," Stillman said in our exclusive interview. "So we wanted to offer a fantasy version of University life, with these charming girls who are helping the depressed and nearly suicidal."

Actress Greta Gerwig plays Violet Wister in the film, which is about a group of co-eds who set out to improve the lives of students at their college. Gerwig said she found plenty in Violet she could relate to. "I like to think of Violet as a zealot, and she’s like the Joan of Arc of perfume and good dressing and tap dancing," Gerwig said. "I relate to her utter passion, and her willingness to 'get into it' with people about what she believes."

And it while it may not be clear whether Gerwig, who studied English and philosophy at Barnard College, had feelings as lukewarm as Stillman's about her schooling, she apparently learned plenty while she was there. "[Violet] seems like, within herself, she’s a Hegelian, thesis-antithesis synthesis, at all times," Gerwig said.

Um, could you explain that, please?

Watch the full interview here:

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