From the archives: Laura Dern
by Jack Tewksbury For forty years the HFPA has recorded interviews with famous and celebrated actors, actresses and filmmakers. The world’s largest collection of its kind — over 10,000 interviews — is now in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Library. The audios are fascinating. Below is an excerpt: in 1993, promoting her turn among Steven Spielberg’s genetically engineered dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, three-time Golden Globe winner and 1982 Miss Golden Globe Laura Dern talked about embracing her career over the objections of her mother (and co-star in the HBO series Enlightned) Diane Ladd, and finding love on the set.
“There were movies where my agent phoned and made me the offer. Then there were movies where I, Geena Davis, Julia Roberts, Melanie Griffith, all totally different, were asked to come and read against each other for a role, which is absurd. Then there’s the movie where they tell you it’s between you and a 45 year old actress. It’s all so bizarre. Sometimes you’d have to fight for a part because you know there are three other people interested, which means you have to read for it. Sometimes you fall in love with a part, and find out some person’s already got it. Or you get it, and realize somebody else is sad. Every movie is different. Sometimes you go out and meet the director, and it just doesn’t work out. It’s tough. I was always fascinated by acting as a profession, but I was also told, “It’s bad, it’s difficult. There are lost of insecurities, a lot of judgment, and a lot of politics.” At the ripe age of nine, I got a role in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, and I remember Martin Scorsese telling my mother, “She could be an actress.” Years later, when I wanted to study, I’d tell her that Martin Scorsese said I could act, and she’d go, “Laura, shut up!” She was afraid for me because it’s a difficult business. My mom just didn’t want me to go through the pain of losing a job because I was a foot taller or a foot shorter or I had blonde hair, that kind if thing. But I loved it, and she gave in. Of course there’s a lot of romance in this business. How can you help it? Two actors working intimately together weeks and months at a time. If there’s chemistry there, it will go a step further. Sam’s (Neill) wife is here in the hotel, so I’d rather not talk about getting involved with my costars but, yes, after Sam and I ended our brief liason, I did–on the rebound–discover Jeff Goldblum, and he’s trying to get me over my heartbreak .”