When it comes to maternal supporting performances, no one has had quite the 2014 like Laura Dern has. She turned in something terrifically touching during the first half of the year with The Fault in Our Stars and now has similarly excellent work with Wild. Dern is in contention for a Best Supporting Actress nomination for the latter, which has her smack in the middle of the awards season again. Last year she was one of her father Bruce Dern‘s biggest cheerleaders, but this year the focus can be on her. A few weeks ago I was able to speak briefly with Dern about her year, particularly in relation to Jean-Marc Vallee‘s Wild, and the highlights of which can be found below. The film is in theaters as of this weekend (my review is here), beginning its run with a limited release, and showcases Dern as well as obviously Reese Witherspoon doing top notch work, much like The Fault in Our Stars (which I previously raved about here) showcased Dern with Shailene Woodley. Take a look at my talk with Dern, cinema’s 2014 Mother of the Year and don’t miss Wild once it opens near you!
Here’s the best of my interview with Laura Dern…
On The Fault in Our Stars
Laura Dern: I love them (screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber) too and I love John Green, who’s unfortunately labeled as a Young Adult writer, because it really should be all of our movie and all of our book. I mean, I was really moved by it. It’s really cool that you like that movie!
How she came to be a member of the cast of Wild
LD: It all came together very quickly. They offered me the film and got me on a Skype call with Jean-Marc (Vallee). You know, Reese (Witherspoon) and I talked, Cheryl (Strayed) and I talked, and I hadn’t even read the book, so right after the offered it to me I read the book and the script and of course, you only say yes about life, gratitude, acting in the movie, everything.
On the challenges of her role and how she prepared for the part
LD: Well, I think the greatest challenge, if you will, was how to keep it very simply truthful in Bobbi’s humble and impassioned gratitude. The fact that it is earned gratitude is what makes the things that she said so powerful, because you see and know what she walked through, as a woman and as a mother, and to still find and long for joy. That’s so inspiring and extraordinary, so you want to pull this real light, which is a huge part of the story, but you still want it to feel real and honest. No one wants the Disney fairy tale, they want that wisdom from someone who’s been through more than they have. I think that was the greatest challenge, to really allow it to have the breadth and the beauty her mother so held. I wanted to honor Cheryl and her mother in that way, as much as I could.
Working with Jean-Marc Vallee
LD: You know, he also edits his films, so don’t you think the editing is just extraordinary? How he somehow wove together her memory and, you know, one woman alone on a hike. And it’s also a mystery and a journey and he does it through music and sound and imagery and flashbacks, I just think it’s done in such a powerful and visceral way. I think it’s really cool. I’ll go wherever Jean-Marc says. He’s just rarified in his vision and in how deeply honest he keeps everything, you know? He’s so amazing.
On if frequent collaborator David Lynch will direct again in the future
LD: (Laughs) Yeah. It’ll happen, it’ll happen one day, I’m sure.
What’s next for her
LD: I mean, I’m hopeful to just keep doing what I love in new ways and to work with the filmmakers that I love so deeply. Right now, it’s just been press days and I did this other film 99 Homes that will come out next year. Now, while doing press I’m working on developing a couple of new projects, which is exciting. It was this odd and amazing thing to work on one project for a couple of years, which was this HBO show (Enlightened) that I did, because I was a creator and producer on it as well as an actor. I really had to dedicate my life to it for a while. I’m really excited to dive back into movies now and try new things. Thank you so much for your sweet words, it’s so awesome!
Wild is on its way to a theater near you and has some top notch acting. Be sure to check it out.
–Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!