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.


Laura Dern and her Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy Series, for Enlightened, 2012.

“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 .”