Todd Solondz has always built his characters into an interconnected world. “Welcome To The Dollhouse” was the film that served as our introduction to his misanthropic take on the world, and it also introduced us to the character who remains my favorite out of all of his, Dawn Weiner.
Played by Heather Matarazzo, Dawn Weiner was a beautiful outsider, a blissfully dorky little girl whose struggle to figure out how to fit in the 7th grade was both funny and painful, and Solondz wrote her with a remarkable amount of empathy. I would argue that Solondz has not been able to always strike that same balance and many of his films feel more mean, like he's an angry god raining on his own personal Jobs just for the hell of it.
In both “Palindromes” and “Life During Wartime,” characters from “Dollhouse” made a reappearance, but the character we would most want to see again is the one who has remained offstage this entire time, and so today's news is genuinely exciting. It sounds like Solondz has finally decided to revisit Dawn, and not just as a side character in someone else's movie. After all, his next project is called “Weiner-Dog.”
The title has a double-meaning, since anyone who remembers “Welcome To The Dollhouse” knows that was Dawn's nickname from the bullies who teased her. This new movie is going to feature several stories all connected by a dachshund. In one of those stories, we'll see that Dawn Weiner is now played by Greta Gerwig. That's a pretty major transformation, and I'm curious to see what Solondz has in mind by taking an indie sweetheart like Gerwig and casting her as the grown-up Dawn. After all, Matarazzo is still acting, and I'd love to see her take on the character now. For her to have transformed into Gerwig, I'm hoping Solondz has a thematic point.
We'll see. The film's still casting right now, and it sounds like they're not locked down completely in terms of financing. With Megan Ellison involved, though, I'm going to bet we'll see this one happen, and I'm really curious now to find out if it's going to be worth the wait.