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The daughter of Oscar-nominated actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd is generating her own awards buzz for her turn as Reese Witherspoon’s mother in “Wild,” opening Dec. 5.

You’ve played two remarkable mothers onscreen this year, beginning with “The Fault in Our Stars.” What drew you to that role?

I was introduced to John Green’s writing and video by my now 13-year-old son and his friends. I was such a big admirer, so when they asked me to do the movie, it really spoke to me as a beautiful opportunity.

And “Wild” is based on a bestselling memoir.

They talked to me about the movie, and then I read the book, and it was like reading John Green. When you read Cheryl Strayed, you don’t say no. I feel honored to try to bring her mother’s love for her to life.

Yu Tsai for Variety

What do you hope for from a director?

I like to be pushed toward a braver place than I’ve done before. I love directors who will accept nothing less than total honesty from actors. And hopefully someone who creates a very collaborative environment, from every crew member to every cast member.

What’s more thrilling, your own Oscar buzz this year or your dad’s last year?

It always feels good to have the work you do be appreciated. I don’t take that privilege lightly. But it’s an unparalleled feeling to see your 78-year-old parent be so honored for their work, and
feel so good. It was gorgeous.