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Laura Dern stars in not one, but two of this year’s Oscar contenders: Greta Gerwig’s Little Women and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story. The star spoke to the Actress Roundtable on working with the real-life couple on separate films, and talks about the similarities between the two directors.
“I think they’re both exacting about the words because they really, I think as a playwright would, they really hear a rhythm to the language,” she explained.
“With Noah, it has its own specific nature and one thing that I was so inspired by, and I think we found in rehearsals, even when we weren’t in the scenes with the people at hand, when it’s Adam (Driver) with his attorney or Scarlett (Johansson) and I together, he feels there is a real musicality to the film. I think he hears a rhythm, Noah, that he’s waiting for everyone to resonate with in a really beautiful way.”
In the case of Gerwig adapting Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel Little Women, Dern explains how the director brings “a rhythm to the language” that was “very strategic.”
“She’s so brilliantly trusting of how modern the story is, of how modern Louisa’s writing is, and how clear a revolutionary Louisa was and through these characters, complicated and beautiful different female characters that she wrote, but also that she heard the language in a way that I think is very similar to how she and Noah have worked and collaborated, both as co-writers and her as his actress, that there is a rhythm to the language that she brings that is seemingly messy and joyful and complicated and angry and all of those things, but it’s very strategic.”
Dern has two career Oscar nominations for her leading role in Rambling Rose and her supporting role in Wild. She won Golden Globes for her work in Afterburn, Recount, Enlightened and Big Little Lies. She earned Globe nominations for her work in Rambling Rose, The Baby Dance and The Tale.
The full Actress Roundtable is set to air Jan. 12 on SundanceTV. Dern appears on the roundtable panel along with Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story, Jojo Rabbit), Lupita Nyong’o (Us), Renée Zellweger (Judy) and Awkwafina (The Farewell). Follow all the Oscar-season roundtables at THR.com/Roundtables.
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