Interview with 4-time Tony nominee Laura Linney
We caught up with 3-time Academy Award nominee Laura Linney at The 62nd Annual Drama Desk Awards this past Sunday, fresh from scooping the award for "Outstanding Actress in a Play." She is starring alongside Cynthia Nixon - who took home the "Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play" award herself - in the Manhattan Theatre Club's Broadway revival of Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.
Ms. Linney is alternating the roles of Regina Giddens and Birdie Hubbard with Ms. Nixon, appearing opposite each other at every performance - a proposal made by Ms. Linney herself.
Laura Linney has earned a total of four Tony Award nominations to date. Aside from her current nomination, she was also recognised in 2010 for Time Stands Still, in 2005 for Sight Unseen, and in 2002 for The Crucible. She made her Broadway debut in the 1990 Broadway premiere of Six Degrees of Separation and has since also appeared in The Seagull(1992), Hedda Gabler (1994), Holiday (1995), Honour(1998), Uncle Vanya (2000) and Les Liaisons Dangereuses(2008).
She is globally known for her career in film and television, earning Oscar nominations for The Savages (2008), Kinsey(2005), and You Can Count on Me (2001). She has won Golden Globe and Emmy Awards for The Big C and John Adams and other notable screen credits include Love Actually, The Squid and the Whale, Wild Iris, The Truman Show, Primal Fear, Mystic River, Nocturnal Animals, Sully, Mr. Holmes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, P.S., Frasier, Congo, and Dave, among many others.
Thomas Hayden Millward: Congratulations on winning your Drama Desk Award, Laura! How are you feeling?
Laura Linney: Stunned! That’s how I’m feeling.
THM: Now, before we talk about ‘The Little Foxes,’ I just have to get something off my chest: “Love Actually” equals Best. Film. Ever!
LL: (Laughs) Oh, you’re so sweet!
THM: How was it for you to return to your role of Sarah for the recent “Red Nose Day” mini-sequel reunion?
LL: Oh I loved it! I mean, any moment I can be with Richard Curtis, I will grab! So, it was really exciting!
THM: And she ended up with Patrick Dempsey in the end. That’s not too shabby, right?
LL: I know! How about that?! Not too bad, right? She did OK! (Laughs)
THM: Well, I will continue to watch “Love Actually” with my family for years to come, safe in the knowledge that things do indeed work out OK for Sarah! But we digress. Let’s talk about theatre. How does it feel that BOTH you and Cynthia Nixon, who share the roles of Regina and Birdie, won your respective awards tonight?
LL: Well, I haven’t been able to see her since I won. But who thought this was going to happen?! Nobody did. Certainly I didn’t. It’s very exciting and it’s a huge confirmation for us and for our entire cast. We really are just having the best time!
THM: And you’re not able to see the other work that has been awarded tonight?
LL: No, sadly I’m not. I’m so busy. It’s the one thing that is frustrating. Our show closes on July 2nd, but weirdly a bunch of shows all close on the same day or around the same time. I wish they could stay open a little bit longer so we could all see each other.
THM: What’s your favorite thing about playing Regina and your favorite thing about playing Birdie?
LL: That’s a really good question. I think my favorite thing about playing Birdie is just how loving she is and how much she needs love. And then it’s kinda fun playing someone who doesn’t need the love. For Regina, money is love.
THM: On the days when you’re playing Regina, do you have a different mindset when you’re travelling to the theatre? Do you have to psyche yourself up more?
LL: (Laughs) Do you know, I don’t. And I’m always so happy when I hear people say that she’s so mean because I don’t feel mean when I do it. You know, I’m always so surprised when I hear people say: “God! You were soooo mean!” To me, it all makes sense. She’s behaving in a way that makes complete sense to me. I’m always satisfied to hear that.
THM: Well, I’ll add to that and say you were mean too. Finally, you also work extensively in film and television, but are there any particular dream roles that could entice you back to the Broadway stage?
LL: You know, I don’t think that way. I really wish I did. It would make life a lot easier for my agents, if I did think that way. I look at them more as assignments. But there’s certainly people I’d like to work with. I’d love to work with [director] Dan Sullivan again and I wanna work with [director] Sam Gold and there are a ton of people I’d like to work with.