Laura Dern has spent the majority of her life on camera, from 1982’s “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains” through “Rambling Rose” and “Jurassic Park” to “Wild.” She’s back on TV with HBO’s “Big Little Lies” and in theaters this weekend with the indie film “Wilson,” opposite Woody Harrelson.
Dern stopped by “CBS This Morning” to talk about her latest work and her “Big Little Lies” character, Renata Klein, a businesswoman and the mother of a bullied child.
Dern praised her parents Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd as actors who never wanted to be pigeonholed, something she took to heart, enabling her “to play endlessly complicated and different, diverse characters as a woman,” she said. “I feel very grateful for it because now I’m having a chance to play all different kinds of women. This is a particularly delicious moment.”
Speaking of delicious, Dern called her “Big Little Lies” character, Renata, “incredibly delicious and radically complicated, which are the greatest characters to play.”
That kind of complication calls for some research. “I had the privilege of speaking with very interesting CEOs who work in the boardroom among men,” she said. “They talk about the stereotype of being a powerful woman in business, and therefore it’s presumed that there’s a sexless marriage or they’re not maternal. And I feel like this woman is holding this pent-up rage all of the years, that she’s trying to denounce this stereotype of herself, that she’s kind of become the bully. And so that’s a lot of fun to consider and play.”
Dern plays a much less business-minded woman in “Wilson,” starring opposite Harrelson as misanthropic exes who set out to find the daughter they put up for adoption 17 years earlier.
“He’s a dream,” she said of her co-star. “If I ever, ever got to be a Ginger Rogers, he would be my Fred Astaire. He’s just the greatest dance partner you could ever dream of. He just is amazing.”