Connect with us

Laura Dern on David Lynch

Laura Dern on David Lynch

Articles - Directing

On the meaning of Inland Empire:

We know [Lynch] is a non-conformist and we know he lives in the world of the abstract and we know he loves to experiment. But David is not an elitist. He doesn’t know the answers and sits back to see if we can figure it out. He believes in art as experience and art as an intuitive journey. I never felt like I had to figure it out and see if it’s what David meant for it to be. So many people have their own experience of Inland Empire. Somebody else believes it’s about a movie within a movie and it’s about an actress who gets locked inside her movie. They’re not wrong. But it’s not my experience of it.

My experience of it is the character that we started with, which is the character in the monologue. To me, it was about this woman in trouble, a woman who is dismantling, and her emotional and abstract journey of trying to define a character for an audience, emotionally. The girls, I don’t know what other people think of them, but to me they’re these abstractions in her mind, what she’s feeling. For me, [I’m playing] one person. I don’t know if David intended that, but that’s how I acted it.

On working on Inland Empire:

David is very specific. Everything is scripted. It’s just, you get it on the day’s work or you figure it out as we’re working or he throws me a line as we’re doing something. But the largest chunk of the movie, on the day’s work, he knew exactly what he needed and he would give me that. Whether it made sense or not in the world of the surreal depended on the scene and what it meant, but he was certainly very specific about what I was supposed to do, be,
feel—all those things.

On working without a defined character:

There were times that it was extremely intimidating, because as an actor you are looking at that [shaping the performance] most of the time in a film. But, at the same time, there can be a great gift in that because I was forced to be in the moment. I had to trust that David was giving me the information I needed so that once it was cut together a character would evolve. I had to throw caution to the wind. People say, “It was a labor of love. We did it for no money because we loved it.” This was way beyond that. We entered the experiment.

On Lynch’s directing style:

David works in code and I think he thinks in code. So you take the puzzle pieces and try to put them together. I think he leaves that job to me and the other actors. He doesn’t want to find it for you. He gives the actor a lot of credit. On Wild at Heart he’d say, “I need more Marilyn [Monroe].” But when he says, “I need more Marilyn,” that’s all I need to know for Lula.

On playing Lula in Wild at Heart:

I could have never done it if David wasn’t a friend. He was very protective of me, like a big brother—he always has been. When it comes to Wild at Heart, if we had a love scene, everyone was very respectful… There’s no getting it wrong. Daring to go too extreme or too subtle or too anything—he requires it all of you and it’s all such fun and there’s no judgment on a set with David—ever. Except when I bring bottles of water on a set; he hates that. He’s like, “She’s flushing all her nutrients out. Goddammit, she drinks so much bottled water! One of these days, that bottle’s gonna be in the damn movie!” I leave them, just to torture him.

On auditioning for Blue Velvet:

I was in a hallway with a group of actors waiting to audition. David came out of the room and said, “I gotta take a leak.” It was the first thing he ever said to me. He went to the bathroom and then they called me in the room. We talked for half an hour about life, growing up, trees, meditation, but not acting. Then I got a call that he and Kyle MacLachlan wanted to meet me at Bob’s Big Boy. I went to Bob’s and we shared french fries. He was doing art with ketchup and the fries on a plate. He was drawing little drawings or maybe he was doing the Angriest Dog or something on a napkin. We said bye and then he asked me to do the movie. MM

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Articles - Directing

  • Articles - Acting

    Editor’s Weekend Pick: Short Term 12

    By

    MovieMaker‘s pick of the films out in theaters this week is the award-winning, heart-pumping Short Term...

  • Articles - Acting

    Fictionalizing Truth: Lee Daniel’s The Butler & More

    By

    We’ve all seen those stately biopics (usually with Oscar aspirations), in which renowned actors portray real-life...

  • Articles

    MovieMaker Editor’s Pick: Prince Avalanche
    by MovieMaker Editors

    By

    MovieMaker’s Editor’s Weekend Pick is director-writer-producer David Gordon Green’s Prince Avalanche, starring Paul Rudd and Emile...

  • Articles

    Thor Freudenthal Sets Sail with Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
    by Kyle Rupprecht

    By

    German-born moviemaker Thor Freudenthal started his career in visual effects and animation, working on such films...

  • Articles - Cinematography

    Best Of: The Most Bodacious Surfing Movies

    By

    Much like an ocean wave, the surfing movie subgenre has seen its share of peaks and...

  • Articles

    Tattoo Nation: Director Eric Schwartz (Part 2)

    By

    In Part One (of this interview, we talked to Colorado-based Tattoo Nation director Eric Schwartz about...

  • Articles - Directing

    Things I’ve Learned As a Moviemaker: Kevin Smith

    By

    Director, screenwriter, sometimes actor, and all-around major geek Kevin Smith has deep roots in independent moviemaking,...

  • Articles - Acting

    Perfectly Paranormal: Ghostbusting in Film

    By

    Where would the world be without the paranormal investigators of cinema? Overrun with evil spirits, demons...

  • Articles

    MovieMaker Editor’s Weekend Pick: Storm Surfers 3D
    by Rory Owen Delaney

    By

    Storm Surfers 3D delivers big wave-riding experience for moviegoers!  This week’s MovieMaker Editor’s Weekend Pick is...

  • Articles

    Laurence Anyways: MovieMaker’s Weekend Pick
    by Kelly Leow

    By

    In recognition of the Supreme Court’s landmark dismissal of California’s Proposition 8 and its striking down...

  • Articles - Directing

    Things I’ve Learned: Neil Jordan’s 12 Golden Rules of Moviemaking

    By

    In the last few years, Neil Jordan, whose career spans three decades, has written and directed...

  • Articles - Directing

    Re-Vamping: Ten Unique Takes on Vampire Mythology

    By

    In celebration of the release of “Byzantium” this Friday, we’ve come up with a selection of...

  • Articles - Directing

    Things I’ve Learned: Gus Van Sant’s Six Golden Rules of Moviemaking

    By

    Gus Van Sant is one of America’s most heralded, iconic independent auteurs.  Based in Portland, Oregon,...

  • Articles - Acting

    Sloppy Seconds: The Best (and Worst) Horror Remakes

    By

    Horror movie remakes are a dime a dozen these days, with retreads of such genre classics...

  • To Top