Talk/Show, Day 3: Linney Acts for the Camera(men)
Laura Linney at DFS Honors
By Jessica Tomberlin
Saturday’s star-studded Day 3 of the 2012 Dallas International Film Festival’s Talk/Show Panel series kicked off in glamorous and insightful fashion with a Conversation with Laura Linney, Dallas Star Award recipient and three-time Academy Award nominee.
Moderated by Lascaux Films and former WFAA-TV film critic Gary Cogill, the Manhattan-raised Linney started by talking about her acting career, which began in theater but unexpectedly transitioned into film and television.
“I was scared of television and movies because I was a theater person,” Linney said. “I wasn’t a snob about it, but I didn’t understand it and didn’t think I would be good at it at all…the greatest surprise of my life, aside from my husband, was working in film and television.”
In order to overcome her fear of the camera, Linney learned how to treat it as a person instead of as a piece of equipment that stood between her and the people behind it.
“My interest is talking to people, not to the camera,” she said. “So I would get to know the camera crew right away, so I could see the camera as them.”
Cogill and Linney then moved on to her experiences and adventures in several of her films and television shows.
“I got to play in the British sand box!,” Linney said about working on the 2003 dramatic comedy LOVE ACTUALLY. “I was making LOVE ACTUALLY and MYSTIC RIVER at the same time, flying back and forth between London and Boston.”
When Cogill asked what it was like playing Clara McMillen in KINSEY, a film centered around sexology that proved controversial to some, Linney confessed her admiration for the story and Alfred Kinsey himself.
“I saw it as fascinating,” Linney said. “I can’t think of a single person who changed the way our society thought more than that man. Without him, there wouldn’t have been a sexual revolution. There wouldn’t have been birth control.”
Linney also expressed admiration for actress Meryl Streep, whom she’s frequently compared to, and commented on Streep’s Academy Award win this year for playing Margaret Thatcher in THE IRON LADY.
“I’m so glad she won,” said Linney. “If she hadn’t won, I would have been really depressed because that performance…my whole thing is, could anybody do that role? And nobody could have played that part they way she did.”
Linney then spoke about her transition from films to television, specifically her lead role in Showtime’s “The Big C”, the first episodic series she’s been involved with since short stints on FRAISER in 2004.
“I’m learning a lot,” she said. “I find at the end of the day I’m just so tired, I just don’t want to be looked at.
“I have a great since of gratitude about it and I appreciate it, but I don’t count on it. I know it can go away at any second, and quite frankly I don’t take it too seriously…I just want to do great work and to work with great people.”
She even shared the story of how she met her husband, Marc Schauer, at the Telluride Film Festival, where he was her host for the weekend.
“It was one of those whirlwind romances,” Linney said. “We spent 48 hours together, and then I went home and we sort of had this old-fashioned relationship where we emailed back and forth.” Cogill then pulled Schauer, a real estate agent in Telluride, into the conversation.
“Letters turned into to phone calls and phone calls turned into another chance meeting in Chicago,” he said.