Triple-Oscar nominee Laura Linney isn’t hurting for work.
She’s headlining the twisted family thriller The Dinner, based on Herman Koch’s equally disturbing book about how two sets of parents handle the despicable misdeed committed by their sons. And she’s co-starring in the play The Little Foxes, written in 1939 by Lillian Hellman about a very troubled family. In it, Linney and Cynthia Nixon switch roles every night? Why? Well, why not?
Oh, and she’s got a three-year-old son at home. Which begs the question: how does she look so fresh-faced and dewy? Linney, 53, just laughs.
“That’s very kind. Thank you. It’s just luck of the draw. We’re all going through (aging),” Linney tells Yahoo Style. “It’s all going. I don’t do anything. It’s what it is. It’s a face that’s touched by time.”
She’s married to real estate agent Marc Schauer and to keep her sanity in check while maintaining her currently grueling work schedule, she relies on his help.
Plus, says Linney, “I sleep a lot, as much as I can. I meditate and that helps.”
She got into meditation after hearing people wax poetic about its benefits, and they always “seemed to be the calmest people in the room. So I yeah, I checked it out. I try and do it twice a day. And when I do it consistently, it’s helpful. I go to a deep, relaxed space.”
Linney could well be the least-pretentious actress you could hope to meet, next to the equally no-frills Meryl Streep. “I eat a lot of popcorn. I drink (soda). I’m a lot more white trash than people think I am,” she laughs.
When it comes to her career, she’s drawn to “really interesting, challenging, good projects. It’s really the people now. It’s gotta be something that piques my interest or something that’s really scary. Or really great people.”
So far, that’s served her well, with standout turns in 2000’s You Can Count on Me and on the series The Big C. And in this case, her Dinner costar Richard Gere definitely fits the bill. He plays her brother-in-law, and the two have very different ideas of how to handle their sons’ potentially life-changing debacle. Linney’s character will go to the ends of the earth to protect him; Gere is more circumspect.
“I don’t quite know how to identify what it is either. Is it loyalty? It comes down to what your code is in life. It must fit into her code in some way. You have a hint that she’s wildly loyal or committed. Her marriage has survived a horrible breakdown. She’s survived cancer. She’s a survivor,” says Linney. “In some ways it’s a profound selfishness. It’s what she wants and what she needs. In some ways it looks loyal and admirable. On the flip side, it’s not terribly ethical. But for many, understandable.”
One of the film’s topics is the issue of deflecting blame, of never accepting responsibility for anything you’ve done, and of push a problem onto someone else. Anyone who’s followed politics can find that familiar.
“We didn’t realize what a political movie we were making when we made it. How great is that! I had no idea. I had no idea of what an indictment it would be. I’m very proud of this movie. It’s one of those movies you make for nothing. You’re freezing cold. We shot nights in the dead of winter. And you still have a great time,” says Linney.
As for her theater work – Linney has been nominated for a Tony three times – she’s always loved The Little Foxes. And just like John C. Reilly and Philip Seymour Hoffman did in True West in 2000, she and Nixon decided to switch things up a bit and swap roles every night.
“Why don’t we both play both? It’s an interesting dynamic? What does it do to a play? What happens? A lot of it was curiosity. I know her. I love her work. Why don’t we just do it? So let’s rotate,” says Linney.
She has shows seven nights a week, which means a shuffling of her schedule at home with son Bennett Armistead.
“I come to the theater two hours ahead of time. The wig goes on. I do my makeup. We do eight shows a week,” she says. “I get up early so that I’m with him in the morning. I take him to school. I’m with him the days he’s not in school. I’ll be with him all during the day. Nighttime, dad gets to do. It works.”
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