Although known primarily for studio fare, Laura Linney has very strong roots in theater, having appeared on Broadway in “Hedda Gabler,” “The Seagull” and “Six Degrees of Separation.”
And while her role in Kenneth Lonergan’s intimate indie drama “You Can Count on Me” represents a departure for Linney after starring in such mainstream pictures as “The Truman Show,” “Absolute Power” and “Primal Fear,” she first gained critics’ attention as transplanted Clevelander Mary Ann Singleton who lies at the heart of Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City,” adapted into a miniseries by PBS in 1993.
“You Can Count on Me,” which premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, gave Linney the opportunity to tackle the complex role of an over-controlling widowed mother whose small-town life is complicated by the visit of her drifter brother and an impulsive affair with her persnickety boss. The film’s reviews have been mostly ecstatic, with Linney’s performance given particular attention. “It’s a very nice thing to happen,” says Linney of the acclaim, “but you have to put it in perspective. I’m just glad to be in something that I’m just so proud of, and maybe be considered for things that I wasn’t considered for before.”
It’s not as if Linney hasn’t already had a very busy year. In addition to “You Can Count on Me,” she shot three other indie films back to back, including “Lush” in Baton Rouge, “The House of Mirth” in Scotland and “Maze,” co-starring Rob Morrow.
“I didn’t make a conscious decision by saying to myself, ‘I’m going to do indies now,'” Linney says. “The roles were terrific and the talents involved were people I’ve always wanted to work with. It might not always be about (the script), sometimes people’s chemistry elevates things.”