On Friday, February 2nd, I had the opportunity and privilege to help moderate a panel for a student discussion with actress Laura Linney, who was in Tulsa to speak at the Performing Arts Center for Tulsa Town Hall. Laura Linney has done it all- theater, film, and television. She’s been nominated for three Academy Awards, four Tonys, and she has won four Primetime Emmys, two Golden Globes, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. She studied at Julliard and began her film career in the early 1990s. Her most recent work is her role on Netflix’s Ozark, opposite Jason Bateman. She is currently filming season two of that show.
When she first entered the room before the panel began, she greeted each of us moderators individually, took a selfie with my class, and talked to my teacher. She was engaging and thoughtful. When my fellow moderator and classmate Charlotte asked her at the end of the panel, “Would you be my adopted mom?” Ms. Linney said yes.
During the panel she was asked questions about being a woman in Hollywood, the #MeToo/#TimesUp movement, how she’s kept a long and steady career, the differences between working in theater, film, and television, and what attracts her to different roles.
She spoke honestly about the difficulties of Hollywood, and advised all the young women in the room to bond together, as working together makes you stronger. She explained her criteria for picking roles- good writing, a director she could learn from, and a story she felt was necessary to tell. She told us about working with Clint Eastwood three times and things she had learned from him about letting scenes act themselves out. She spoke about the different demands of different mediums, and how she balances being an introvert with her work.
Moderating the panel. Left to right: C.S., Me, O.H., Laura Linney
After the student panel, we got to see her give her Town Hall speech to a full crowd in the main PAC auditorium. Her speech was about how to infuse creativity into every part of your life. My favorite thing she discussed was the need for an “Art Doctor,” someone who could prescribe to you a piece of art for every emotion or dilemma you may have. Feeling blue? Listen to this. Need some philosophical ponderings? Read this. Happy? Rejoice by watching this.
I would say, after needing some artistic inspiration, speaking to Laura Linney was just what the doctor ordered.