Laura Linney got downright bawdy in 2004.
In “Kinsey,” she and onscreen husband Liam Neeson do nothing but engage in explicit sex talk for nearly two hours.
In “P.S.,” Linney plays a Gotham college admission’s officer who teaches Topher Grace that the essay portion of the SAT isn’t really the most important factor in getting into school. Both roles — though more so for “Kinsey” — have Linney being strongly considered for her second Oscar nomination, the first coming for 2000’s for “You Can Count on Me.”
Linney’s sex appeal has mostly been muzzled during a career that saw her bigscreen debut in 1992 with “Lorenzo’s Oil.” So she wasn’t afraid to strip down and flesh out her two most recent characters.
“The sex scene in ‘P.S.’ was so interesting,” she explains. “They’re always awkward to do but given what this woman was going through and her profound loneliness, she connects that way. You have to make sure (the sex scenes) have a purpose.”
Linney was familiar with director Dylan Kidd via her friend Campbell Scott, who starred in Dylan’s first pic, “Roger Dodger.” She arrived on the “P.S.” set just two days following up filming on “Kinsey,” with helmer Bill Condon.
How she landed the “Kinsey” role is something of a ironic twist. She heard from the “Gods and Monsters” director while on Broadway in something of an antisex moment.
“Bill called me when I was doing ‘The Crucible’ with Liam, and I was in my Puritan outfit,” she says while laughing. “He asked if I was interested in the script and by page two I was in. It’s so beautifully written and profoundly actable, which is not always the case.
“A lot of scripts aren’t written for actors. They’re written for execs so the movie can be made. It wasn’t the case on this one.”
Linney didn’t have much background info in trying to prepare for the role as Kinsey’s wife, Clara. While she saw a few photographs to get a visual sense of the woman, it was an audiotape that Linney discovered which proved crucial in helping her form the character. “You could hear how she formed her thoughts and centered her voice,” Linney says.
Although she’s looking forward to some rare down time after shooting her current project in Vancouver, “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” Linney doesn’t complain about her hectic schedule. She’s co-starred in five films over the past two years and has three more on the way.
“I feel terribly satisfied,” she confesses. “I’m enjoying all of it and especially loving these tricky parts that are both challenging and where I have to apply myself. It’s really all about the people I play.”