It always helps to have a parent in your chosen industry, so Laura Dern essentially hit the Hollywood jackpot given the fact that her dad, Bruce Dern, had already made quite the name for himself in show business.
“Well, when she first started, she asked me what the drill was and I said, ‘Well, the drill is very simple,'” Bruce, 83, exclusively told Closer Weekly at a special screening of Peanut Butter Falcon (out Friday, August 9) at ArcLight Hollywood in L.A. on Thursday, August 1.
At that time, Bruce — who has been nominated for two Oscars during his career, one for 1978’s Coming Home and another for 2013’s Nebraska — told her “the greatest intimidator of actors is behind-the-camera intimidation,” seemingly referring specifically to directors.
“So you’ve got to learn how to dance. You’ve got to learn how to dance all around that, not take it personally; it’s not [personal],” he recalled telling Laura, 52. “Just get your work done and don’t think that they’re all looking at you because you’re going to take three or take four or anything like that. Forget all that.”
The other piece of advice was just as good. He told the Jurassic Park star to “go out on the edge of the cliff and take risks” because that is what would set her apart from the actresses she would be going up against.
“Take roles other girls won’t do,” Bruce explained to Laura — who has been nominated for two Oscars herself, first for 1991’s Rambling Rose and then for 2014’s Wild — at the time. “Sometimes you’ll have directors that will save you and sometimes you won’t, but you have to make the effort to risk. She’s done good at that.”
Most recently, Laura took a big swing by playing Renata Klein on HBO’s Big Little Lies for the past two seasons alongside Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep. If that role taught her anything, it’s how to deal with a train-loving, nanny-cheating husband like Gordon Klein, played by actor Jeffrey Nordling.
The highlight of the season 2 finale for most fans was Renata’s baseball bat-wielding destruction of Gordon’s precious and grand train set — in the spirit of Beyoncé’s Lemonade — which the series paid $30,000 for.
“She told me the other day, ‘I guess [I won’t] ever date a guy named Lionel again,'” Bruce said in jest about Laura’s excellent work on Big Little Lies. “Because of the Lionel train sets. That’s who makes the little trains.”
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