Greta Gerwig had a creative way of getting her Little Women stars out of their comfort zones before filming.
The writer-director, 36, spoke to PEOPLE while promoting her Oscar-nominated film and said she likes to help actors reach “a state where they trust each other.”
“They aren’t scared of looking foolish because all acting is on some level is looking foolish because that’s how you get the good stuff,” Gerwig said. “You kind of have to go for it and you’re not going to look cool all the way down when you’re like feeling. I think as much as possible, like any theater games, vocal exercises, it’s not just to warm up your voice and warm up your body, it’s also to get you out of your head.”
She added, “And I had them perform for each other and Timothée [Chalamet] did this amazing monologue. He had it from high school, inside of him.”
The director added Emma Watson, who stars in the film as Meg, brought ice cream while Chalamet, who was also present, said the Harry Potter actress “did a crazy poem, like a beautiful poem” to perform in front of her castmates.
“And Saoirse [Ronan] recited the lyrics to Landslide,” he added, referring to Fleetwood Mac’s iconic song.
The games worked, Gerwig said.
“I think so much of creating a spot where actors feel free. It’s so that… I don’t know, it’s so that there’s not, there’s not one right answer,” she explained. “And I’m not the keeper of the answer. We’re all building this together and I like people to get in that state of openness.”
The Gerwig-directed film has earned more than $145 million at the worldwide box office. The film is an adaptation of the Louise May Alcott novel starring Ronan, Chalamet, Florence Pugh, Laura Dern and Meryl Streep.
The earnings come after the film scored six Academy Award nominations. The movie tied with Marriage Story, Jojo Rabbit and Parasite in terms of Oscar nominations.
The 92nd Annual Academy Awards will air live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.