Laura Linney on The Savages: The RT Interview

We talk the craft of acting with the Oscar nominee.

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Laura Linney - Jeff Vespa/WireImage.comA class act, Laura Linney's enviable list of big screen credits includes early roles as Jim Carrey's scary wife in The Truman Show and Clint Eastwood's daughter in Absolute Power, through to her own Oscar-nominated turns in intelligent dramas like You Can Count On Me and Kinsey.

Hailing from a theatrical background (her father is playwright Romulus Linney) and Juillard-trained, Linney, 43, can effortlessly switch between indie (The Squid and the Whale, Jindabyne) and mainstream (Primal Fear, Love, Actually) fare.

Her latest role - which has just garnered her third Oscar nod - sees her as a neurotic, wannabe playwright suddenly forced, along with her older brother (Philip Seymour Hoffman), to care for their ailing, estranged father in the blackly comic The Savages. RT sat down with Linney to learn more.

I'm sure you've thought about the issue of aging parents before but did making this film give you a different perspective on that issue?

Laura Linney: It certainly did make me think about it, there's no question about that. And it prompted me to ask questions of the people I will be responsible for -- solely responsible for. It's that dreaded topic which is inevitable and knowing that I would be a mess when these people go, I said, "the biggest gift you can give me is to help me figure out what to do during that period of time. If we can talk about this while we're all still healthy and have a sense of humour about it, then when I am grieving, I'll still be able to function and know that I'm doing the right thing."

So I guess in a way making a movie like this is really a step on that process because you're putting this stuff out there...

LL: Yeah, it's somewhat haunting, but I got some things in order. It will be a huge turning point in my life, as it will be for everybody, but I will always remember all of us laughing about it, which is a great thing. We had a real laugh trying to figure all this out!

The Savages


In the film there's a great dynamic between your character and your brother, which reminded me of another interesting sibling relationship from an earlier movie of yours, You Can Count On Me. Do you consciously compare roles when you see these connections?

LL: No, you don't. I think people are curious because there have been two brother-sister movies and it's not a relationship that is typically explored but I didn't compare them at all. The situations are so different, the characters are so different. It's the same thing as if I play a wife or a lawyer; I don't compare them to each other.

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