Laura Linney + Jeff Daniels

Variety, June 5, 2018 | Go to article overview

Laura Linney + Jeff Daniels


LAURA LINNEY People have asked me a lot, "When did you feel like you'd made it?" Did you ever have that moment? Because I feel like I'm not there yet.

JEFF DANIELS I completely agree, because it depends what your definition of "making it" is. Is it having a million bucks in the bank, or being in a movie that's No. 1, or getting a multi-picture deal with some studio? Is that making it? We did "Squid and the Whale" together, and is making it the reaction you get from someone who walks up to you who says, "I just saw 'Squid and the Whale.' My family was divorced. Oh, that movie!" Is that making it? I think that's making it.

LINNEY When you were little, did you know you wanted to be an actor? DANIELS No. It's just something I was good at. Did you have the thing, "Oh, my God, I want to be in lights"?

LINNEY No, I didn't have that. I knew that I wanted to be an actor, but I kept it a real secret. I was too embarrassed to say it because I would encounter kids who would be like, "I'm gonna be an actor." And I would want to fall into the earth when I would see them behave that way. I don't know why it made me embarrassed, so I kept it a secret for a very long time. ... I have moments, I think, where I'm still embarrassed to say that I want to be an actress.

DANIELS Because people don't understand. That it's not really work, is it? It's just being famous, right?

LINNEY Yeah. [Laughs.] What I love is the misconception of "Well, you're an actress - just lie." Acting is not lying.

DANIELS No. I think making a living in it is making it. That's where I live. There's a longevity club. Because so many of our friends who are equally talented, maybe more so, are out. Or they didn't have the drive, or they didn't have that relentless "I'm not giving up." I sit with college kids and I go, "You have no idea what it is you're going to need inside of you to withstand the rejection that I still feel in my 60s."

LINNEY Of allowing yourself to feel bad when things don't go well, when you're embarrassed, or you're rejected or humiliated. Or when you fail. I'm a big advocate for failure, but there is that sense of putting it all in some sort of perspective, so that you can keep evolving, so that you don't become too knowing. …

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