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Laura Dern's Enlightened Q&A

Q/ Thank you Laura Dern for joining us today. What is your favorite part about playing Amy Jellicoe?

A/ Despite her complication, Amy is truthful, fearless, and willing to use her voice to make a difference and I love her for it.

Q/ Brilliantly powerful narrations last night. In an ideal situation, how long would you envision Amy's journey to tell her complete story?

A/ How many years you got? Amy is definitely the most entertaining character I've gotten to play. I think she can keep her story going in a very interesting way for a long time.

Q/ Who did your clubbin' look from season one?

A/ Team Amy! Makeup, hair, wardrobe...I loved the idea that Amy innocently wanted to fit in at a disco but tragically she hasn't been to one since 1992!

Q/ Hi Laura! Amy is so painfully real. Do you find it difficult sometimes to play her?

A/ Yes but in a wonderful way. It's been a journey of very big emotion and it's sort of hard to separate out from that when you're in it.

Q/ Will Amy ever branch out and find a place to live without her mom? I love Diane Ladd so much but I also feel like she's her own character.

A/ I mean God I hope so, but I feel she may be stuck there for a while. Maybe we can build her a room off the pool area so she at least isn't living 3 feet from her mother at all times.

Q/ What was the funniest thing that ever happened to you?

A/ When I was 12 my dog got her period on Scott Baio, need I say more?

Q/ you have worked with spielberg, david lynch, clint eastwood and now PTA. What director you wish to work with in the future?

A/ I've worked with Jonathan Demme and Alexander Payne before and I hope to again. Also, I would love to get to add Quentin Tarantino to this list . Of the directors you've mentioned, all of them again and again, I pray.

Q/ Laura, I love you in Lynch's avant-garde films, do you have any future plans with him? How about your legendary mother?

A/ I hope I will be working with David for the rest of my life and, yes, we have upcoming plans. Enlightened has offered the thrilling privilege to work with my mom in the longterm, which is pure bliss. Sure hope to work with my dad at some point, as well.

Q/ Do you and Mike White incorporate your beliefs about spirituality into the show?

A/ I would think that what we're incorporating are our questions and our longing for spiritual connection, more than a specific belief system.

Q/ How has Amy changed from Season 1?

A/ Amy has had incremental growth. And, perhaps, this season her greatest flaw will also be her greatest gift...which means harnessing deep emotion for a greater cause. Still complicated, but useful. I find this dynamic very human.

Q/ Hi Laura, Is Amy going to explore new love interests instead of trying to fix her ex??

A/ You're a very intuitive viewer. I think we won't let you down.

Q/ Hi Laura! My reality is SO SIMILAR to Amy's life in season one. I am an idealist who feels stuck right now. What advice would Amy give me?

A/ Amy would say "get unstuck!" She might advise (for better or for worse that you should feel everything you're feeling, consider yourself first and be true to that voice deep inside that's been waiting to come out. And Amy wouldn't be worried about wether or not other people want to hear it...that's the challenging part!

Q/ Hi! I was wondering about the books Amy reads on the show. Are they actually published or are they just "props" with appropriate titles? In any case, did you read any of them (or something similar) in order to prepare for the character? Thanks, Love the show!

A/ THANK YOU! Keep watching. Yes I read many books to prepare, self-help and political whistle-blower books...but on the show there are many prop books as well as several classic and important books in these arenas like "Rules for Radicals." That was always on Amy's desk.

Q/ Your and your mother's dynamic on screen is so vital, so authentic; is it ever scary - the blurred lines of character and your real selves?

A/ For sure in any character an actor portrays, the lines can get very blurred and you must be willing to risk a lot in order to expose a lot perhaps. When it comes to mom and I, our relationship is so different, in real life that playing out this dynamic between Amy and Helen, is only a delicious experiment!

Q/ did any of this character come from talks or experiences you had with Marianne Williamson? I love this show!

A/ Well I love Marianne, she is a teacher and was a roommate. So If I'm lucky, some pearls of wisdom have rubbed off to influence my character.

Q/ How would Amy...define happiness?

A/ Everyone being exactly how she'd like them to be! And perhaps feeling a little less about things for herself.

Q/ Do you take great pains with acting and writing to make your character still sweet and hopeful and not bitter? Your show lifts my spirits!

A/ I'm so happy to hear that. We like the idea of reflecting on how we wake up everyday with the intent to perhaps do a little bit better or to feel a little more hopeful. And maybe by the end of the day, we've blown it entirely but the gift of life is that we get a whole new day tomorrow to try again. It's a good thing Amy has amnesia.

Q/ Laura, in "the weekend" Amy wonders why she always wakes up as herself and no one else. If Amy could, who else would she be for a day?

A/ Well, if Amy was doing the choosing, she might pick Levi so I'm hopeful I can do the choosing for her. I'd like her to be Gloria Steinham for a day, I think it would be healthier.

Q/ When creating the show, did you plan to make the supporting characters so central and strong to the story? Or was Amy the main focus?

A/ As we started, Amy was the main focus. But she has such an impact on the people around her, for better or for worse and so as she makes more happen, it impacts more people and hopefully gives room for a more rounded story.

Q/ AGENTS OF CHANGE are often seen as the proverbial yellow dress amongst a sea of black suits. They stand out. Are often shunned…ridiculed and shut out. When the red tape is now a big red wall of delay and inaction in seeking justice and change, how stay strong…stay positive…refrain from feeling defeated?...dead?...deflated? [see S1:E1 – during Regina Spektor’s Human of the Year song to understand the yellow dress/black suit analogy more clear]

A/ What an insightful and poetic question! I feel you have summarized the question the show really asks. We may not have answers on who will be brave enough to do it, how they will do it, but we consider the idea that perhaps it takes someone who yes is boundaryless, yes cares little about what others think, and perhaps feels more deeply than most about the state of the world but in the end, the truth seeker will demand justice and our future is in the balance of Amy.

Q/ Can you give us a hint of what’s in store for Amy this season?

A/ Amy will use her voice without awareness of boundaries and we will probably watch with glee and periodic horror. I find her an uncomfortable hero, just my kind.

Q/ What are some of your favorite movies?

A/ This year, two documentaries "The Gatekeepers" and "Searching for Sugarman." Movies this year I loved were "Amor" "Lincoln" and "Silver Linings Playbook." These are only a few! Its been an exciting year for whistleblowers in cinema and TV!

Q/ That's all the time we have for today's Q&A with Laura Dern. Laura, is there anything else you'd like to say to your fans before we go?

A/ Thank you all for your support and your love of Amy and the show. I'm so excited for everyone to see Season 2 unfold. It was great to connect with everyone today.

Mike White will also be doing a Q&A, you can ask him questions here

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