It’s only fitting that I share my Laura Dern, Star Wars: The Last Jedi interview with you on the same day she was nominated for a best-supporting actress Golden Globe for her role in Big Little Lies. Given her extensive (and incredible) work as an actress, I was very interested in speaking with Laudra Dern about her role as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo in Star Wars: The Last Jedi while in LA for the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Press Junket. Not only does she share her love of the Star Wars franchise, we also snuck in a question about Jurassic Park, which you will find at the end of our interview.
Here’s what Laure Dern had to say…
About her character, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo
“I have purple hair. I can tell you this; there’s a new boss in town. I have arrived in the Resistance, and I am a Vice Admiral, and that’s pretty much all I can tell you…It was incredible to have the privilege of collaborating on who she is and how to present a powerful woman.”
How she felt about joining the Star Wars Legacy
“…I feel excited to join this amazing legacy of strong females in space starting with our magnificent icon of Princess Leia. So that was a great pleasure.”
How she became involved with the project
“Rian called asking to have lunch and talk about something…And then Kathy Kennedy simultaneously called me just to check in and say ‘Hey, how are you?’ And we went to lunch, and he started describing something he was looking for in a character and would love for me to help invent this with him. And it all sounded great.”
It wasn’t until the end of their lunch that he whispered to her that it was for the movie Star Wars
“…It’s amazing having been a huge fan as a child. I was sort of listening to this amazing story and that’s what’s incredible about Star Wars. He started describing a world that was about the complexity of being a human being and the battle between light and dark and not knowing which would win, and the struggle of family and the hero’s journey. And you feel it all. You realize that it is what filmmakers that I’ve worked with in independent film have longed to explore.
He described this complicated female character in such a beautiful way also spoke to something that rebel filmmakers have asked of their collaborators and in my case, as an actor, of me. And then to realize, My God, that’s what George Lucas invented. And that’s why I think this stands the test of time in such a profound way is it’s not a franchise, it’s a legacy of the deepest storytelling we have…”
The color of her lightsaber if she had one in real life
“I mean, maybe we need to see a rainbow lightsaber. I think it’s time guys; I think it’s time.”
Watching Star Wars the first time as a child
The first time she saw Star Wars, she was probably 6 years but doesn’t remember her exact age.
“I was a little girl and I stood in line. It was the first time I stood in line for a movie at the Cinerama Dome, and it was blocks long. It was profound for me. And the genre seemingly would not have been something I was interested in, but the spoiled part is I have been raised by actors. And I’ve been introduced to a world where the movie is magical, and my parents are such fans. You know, my mother and my father, they’re rebels. They love hardcore independent films…”
FUN FACT: Her dad had done a Douglas Trumble film called “Silent Running” – she then shared “I’m told it was a great influence on George Lucas in that it was my dad alone in space with 3 Droids named Huey, Dewey, and Louie. And I became obsessed with these droids, and those Droids I’m told were a great influence toward R2D2. And I had a figurine of this droid, and I remember that idea of being in space with these characters who are your partners. And then suddenly Star Wars opened up this kind of storytelling in this massive way, so it felt personal, as Star Wars does to all of us.”
Young girls seeing such strong women in this film
“Well, it’s just incredible. That’s so exciting. I know what Leia was for me, as I know she was for all of you. It was again, not just her strength in some super heroic way but in the deeply human way that Carrie so incredibly embodied was this fearless, irreverent sassy, bold, vulnerable female. And all things to be true and powerful and kick butt and all of those things were in one character.
And we know how rarely we see that. So that meant the world to me, and now my daughter and all her friends have this in Rey and soon other female characters in this movie, and it’s really exciting to see what the different females do.”
Mentally preparing for her role
“…It’s incredible that we have this truly shared experience of needing to have the fan freak out moment, and then to let it all then disappear. That way you’re just telling the story of these characters cause it’s insane to get there and rehearse with Rian. Everything’s deeply personal in the part of my life that does come from independent film. I got my clothes on, having coffee with Oscar Isaac and Benicio del Toro, I’m like hey I’m on another independent movie with my fellow actors. This doesn’t feel different from any other movie I’ve done, which is hilarious, with Rian who’s this independent filmmaker so I’m like, ‘are you sure this is Star Wars cause look we are. What is happening?’
But then you walk onto the set, and in the morning, Rian was like ‘Oh, somebody’s a fan, wants to say hi right before we were starting one day,’ I am standing, making tea, and I turned around, and Chewbacca was there. He embraced me, and I cried. I really cried. It was so moving to me. And then you know, being on set and seeing R2D2 and these characters we all fell in love with. It’s stunning so then you have to get over it and go to work, but it’s an incredible opportunity and experience. I’m so happy to get to be part of it.”
Her character on Jurassic Park, Ellie Sattler, being a feminist
“…Steven Spielberg and I were talking about it several days ago. Ellie Sattler is such a feminist. And I loved that, and I love that girls are still dressing up like her for Halloween. Got to rock some Timberlands people to get stuff done and your PJ Dinosaurs. You got to dress smartly.”
A Jurassic Park Role in the future
She just smiled and when I said she could blink once for “yes” or twice for “no”, she blinked once and then a bunch of times, so we’ll see.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be in theaters December 15, 2017
In the meantime, do you want to know more aboutStar Wars? Check out these posts:
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Join the Conversation…
*I was invited to attend the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Press Junket. All of my lodging meals and transportation were provided by Disney. However, all opinions are my own.