Greta Gerwig on 'Little Women' Characters: "They Became Part of the Inner Landscape of Myself"

Martin Scorsese, Noah Baumbach, Fernando Meirelles, Lulu Wang and Todd Phillips also joined for the annual Director Roundtable.

Little Women "meant so much to me," Greta Gerwig told the Director Roundtable of the novel that inspired her latest film. "I don't ever remember not knowing who the March sisters were. I always knew who Jo March was, I always knew those sisters and that mother and those adventures. They became part of the inner landscape of myself. They felt like my memories. The book had become part of me."

Gerwig has famously credited Steven Spielberg as a mentor for the project, as she told the roundtable, "I was going to go prep Little Women and he'd shot Lincoln, and it took place the same year. It's the same world. He opened up every piece of research he had done, how he'd decided to light things given that it was all candlelight, how he'd decided to shoot interiors."

"He opened the camera he shot Jurassic Park with [and] had me smell celluloid. He said, 'You have to shoot on film, it smells different. You cannot shoot a story that takes place in 1861, digitally. You just can't, I won't let you do it.'"

"It feels like such an honor to be able to talk with someone who thinks about how do we tell stories and how do we bring people in to the stories. It's not one thing, it's everything," Gerwig said.

Greta Gerwig has two career Oscar nominations for writing and directing her debut feature Lady Bird, making her the fifth woman to ever be recognized in the directing category. Saoirse Ronan, the star of her latest film, Little Women, recently earned a Golden Globe nomination for Saoirse Ronan.

Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Fernando Meirelles (The Two Popes), Lulu Wang (The Farewell) and Todd Phillips (Joker) joined for the annual Director Roundtable. The full roundtable is set to air Jan. 5 on SundanceTV. Follow all the Oscar-season roundtables at THR.com/Roundtables.