New Interview
Laura Dern

Laura Dern: “We have to evolve together”

February 26, 2020

Ms. Dern, is it difficult for actresses to find powerful and complicated roles in today’s industry?

For whatever reason, I have been lucky to play pretty ferocious people, even when they’re broken. I’m thinking of Citizen Ruth as an example; she was a really crazy, complicated character — or even Jurassic Park, I mean, they are badasses in their own way. With a film like Wild at Heart, in the mind of the filmmaker, David Lynch, through everything that happens to that character, even trauma, she tries to become empowered. She’s so objectified that she says, “I am not going to let you win, I’m the one that’s going to win.” And that’s a very complicated thing… My collaboration with David is so respectful and so generous. I’ve played so many different kinds of characters for him; sexuality being one of the things that he has deeply explored in very traumatic ways with and towards women.

But also in very empowering ways.

Right, it’s all over the map. It’s like his paintings; it’s all in there. And I have been inspired by that and it hasn’t scared me because it’s complicated. I might see it very differently now than I would have as an 18-year-old or 19-year-old or something, but at the time, I would have still seen the value of exploring all of it. I find that exciting. When it comes to exploring, especially with the likes of David, you want it to be fearless and messy. Even working with Noah Baumbach on Marriage Story, you know, I love his films, I love him, and it was an amazing way to have a working relationship.

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Last week’s Interview
Renée Zellweger

Renée Zellweger: “I try to concentrate on something true”

February 19, 2020
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Ms. Zellweger, as an actress, what do you do to stay grounded?

I spend a lot of time alone. I run a lot so there’s a sort of physical expelling of anything that is extraneous. I have responsibilities and challenges like everybody does: sick friends, friends with babies… And those are the things that I tap into, they are the treasures in my life. More so than work or what people think of your work, those things are defining. There’s not a whole lot of consideration for things that aren’t projections; I try not to spend time on things that don’t matter.

Often that is easier said than done.

Of course — there’s so many things that you can’t control; intangible things especially. But there are are certain things that you can control, and those are the things that I focus on. The things that I can’t control I just leave alone. When I’m working, for example, I always try to concentrate on something that is true, something that moves me in the context of the story that we’re trying to tell through the film, and just trust that.