||Laura Dern; Laura Dern
Broadcast on Lifetime.
||Editor, Nancy Novack; photography, Rob Larussa; music, Max Surla.
||Narrator, Mary Steenburgen; hostess, Meredith Vieira.
||a Feury/Grant Entertainment production and Lifetime productions, Inc. ; executive producer, Joseph Feury ; produced and written by Caroline King ; director, Lee Grant.
"Actress Laura Dern has made her mark in American film with authentic, compassionate portrayals of complex characters. With actors Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern as parents, Laura learned at an early age that acting is both a craft and a calling. As a child, Laura appeared as an extra with her mother in Alice doesn't live here anymore. She caught the eye of that film's director, Martin [Scorsese], who told Ladd that her daughter was meant to be an actress. [Scorsese's] words stayed in the young girl's mind, and despite her parents' protests, Laura announced her decision to follow in their footsteps. Ladd insisted that her daughter study acting seriously for two years before auditioning for roles. Laura rose to the challenge. During this period, Laura was sorting through a real-life drama with her father. Her parents had divorced when she was two years old, and Laura lived with her mother and grandmother. Not content to see her father only twice a month, 10-year-old Laura wrote a touching letter asking for his time and attention. The letter was pivotal in changing their relationship, and the two gradually developed an extremely close bond. At age 11, Laura landed her first professional acting role in the film Foxes, starring Jodie Foster. To garner the role, Laura lied about her age in order to play a girl who was three to four years older. Soon after, she landed a part in the cult classic Ladies and gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains. She impressed co-star Christine Lahti with her focus and dedication. Anxious to immerse herself in acting, Laura took extra courses to complete high school early. At age 16, Laura obtained the legal status of emancipated minor in order to free herself from the constraints of child labor laws; she did so just in time to play the role of a pregnant teen opposite Nick Nolte in the film Teachers. Laura then faced an important decision: take the lead role in a teen movie or accept a low-paying cameo in Peter Bogdanovich's film Mask. Laura chose the smaller role, opposite Eric Stoltz, and convincingly played a blind girl. The critical acclaim for her performance shaped Laura's career choices in favor of substance over celebrity. After Mask, Laura starred as a complicated 16-year-old on the verge of adulthood in Joyce Chopra's Smooth talk. In recognition of her work in both Mask and Smooth talk, Laura won the L.A. Film Critics 1985 New Generation Award. Without seeing any of Laura's previous work, director David Lynch chose Laura for the role of the ingenue in Blue velvet. The unusual film drew startled reactions, and Lynch called on laura to work with him again in Wild at heart. She played a sexually free woman opposite Nicholas Cage, while her real-life mom played her on-screen mother. Laura appeared with her mother again in Rambling Rose and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, while Ladd was nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Though neither won in her respective category, the 1991 mother-daughter nomination was the first of its kind in Oscar history. The Oscar nomination brought Laura a slew of Hollywood offers, but her next choice was a role in the play Brooklyn laundry, and then she took a part in the HBO production Afterburn, for which she won an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe. It wasn't until 1993 that Laura appeared in her first blockbuster, Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park. She fell in love with co-star Jeff Goldblum on the set. The couple lived together for several years before the relationship ended. In 1996, Dern starred as the drug-addicted, pregnant poster child of both the pro-life and pro-choice movements in the satire Citizen Ruth. Laura's heart now belongs to actor/director Billy Bob Thornton. The couple worked together for the first time in Daddy and them, which also features Ladd. At age 32, Laura was honored with the Sundance Film Festival's Piper-Heidsieck Award for Independent Vision for her 'extremely risky and risk-taking roles.' Laura has taken this recognition as a vote of confidence to continue playing dynamic characters, sometimes outside the realm of commercial appeal. ... Features interviews with Bruce Dern, Jodie Foster, Billy Bob Thornton, Isabella Rossellini, Christine Lahti, Peter Bogdanovich and Ellen DeGeneres"--Lifetimetv.com web site, March 2, 2000.