Laura Linney On Gender Inequality In Film Business: ‘It’s Unhealthy”

By | Thursday June 13, 2013 @ 10:12am PDT

Laura Linney last night received the The Crystal Award for Excellence in Film at Women in Film LA’s annual Crystal+Lucy awards gala at the Beverly Hilton. A three-time Oscar nominee and three-time Emmy winner, she was introduced by producer-director Alan Poul and gave an acceptance speech that one Deadline insider at the event called “the best I’ve heard in years”. Said Linney: “Rarely do you have a scene with other women, very few women are on the crew, and what few female executives arrive tend to keep to themselves. … This is a problem”. Here’s the full transcript:

Thank you Alan for that exceedingly kind introduction. And thank you to the board of trustees of Woman in Film, not only for this honor, but for all of the work that you do to encourage and improve the landscape for women in our pursuit of both art and commerce within this entertainment industry.

My relationship to film and television started, by Hollywood standards, relatively late in my life. I was born into the theatre which claimed my heart since childhood. I loved film, I loved going to films, I loved SEEING people think and react: I marveled at the acting skills and choices that were made and cinematic storytelling, but it was a world that intimated me greatly and one which felt foreign and very far away.

But life is full of many surprises, and after my days at Juilliard, my very wise agent, the late Brian Riordan, ever so slowly encouraged me to dip my toe in the film waters. I resisted, but he prevailed. I was a day player on a few films which was fun, did a commercial or two, and then was cast in Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, which changed my connection to camera work and indeed, changed my life. I will never forget the day that the penny dropped. We were filming in a grocery store, and Parker Posey and I were traveling with our grocery carts, with great energy, from the frozen food aisle to the vegetables. I rarely had had so much fun, and it was on that day that I realized that there would have to be room in my life for two loves…..and I gave myself permission to be a film/theatre bigamist.

As I spent more and more time on sets, a few surprising and alien patterns began to emerge. An enormous amount of time and energy went into conversations about the color of my hair. Producers, all male, would shake their heads in dismay, and send me back to the colorist with some idea of what they wanted with their very specific and helpful straight man vocabulary of “MORE” blonde or “LESS” blonde. ( I always thought they were trying to re-create a color from some old flame). It became absurd and predicable and a complete waste of time…..I have been more shades of blonde then you can possibly imagine. And it is a miracle that I have a strand left in my head.

Unlike in the theatre, I soon realized that for the most part I was surrounded by men. A lot of really wonderful men as well as some not so wonderful ones. As an actress in film, it is very easy to become isolated just due to the ratio of gender inequality that exists. Rarely do you have a scene with other women, very few women are on the crew, and what few female executives arrive tend to keep to themselves. You have fewer and fewer women to turn to for help or advice, and information is not easily shared.

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‘The Big C’ Finale Airs On Showtime Tonight

By | Monday May 20, 2013 @ 5:23pm PDT

Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.

The Big C finaleShowtime and the producers of The Big C end Cathy Jamison’s personal cancer saga in hospice care tonight with its fourth and Hereafter season finale. Executive producer and showrunner Jenny Bicks naturally declined to divulge whether Cathy (Laura Linney) dies tonight, though she and fellow exec producer Darlene Hunt co-wrote. The mini-series’ four last episodes span a year in the life of the lead character, each separated by roughly three months. The finale follows Angelina Jolie’s shocking May 14 announcement that she had undergone a preventive double mastectomy, which spurred a slew of press calls to Showtime and the Big C team. Bicks, herself an early-stage breast cancer survivor, told Deadline. “It has really drawn attention to us in a way we couldn’t have anticipated,” she said. “I hope we’ve done something to help more people recognize that cancer isn’t any longer this thing you whisper about behind a closed door. And it isn’t necessarily a disease you necessarily have to die from.” Read More »

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2013 Women In Film Honorees Include Laura Linney, Hailee Steinfeld, Sofia Coppola

By | Monday April 29, 2013 @ 10:32am PDT

Women In Film has announced recipients of the 2013 Crystal + Lucy Awards honoring exemplary women in the entertainment industry. Laura Linney will receive the 2013 Crystal Award for Excellence in Film. The Lucy Award for Excellence in … Read More »

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Achieving Closure On ‘The Big C: Hereafter’

By | Saturday January 12, 2013 @ 5:43pm PST

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

Showrunners of the Showtime cancer comedy The Big C were split originally in their relative level of optimism over whether they thought the show would be renewed to wrap up … Read More »

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Will Playing FDR Give Bill Murray A Second Shot At Oscar? ‘Hyde Park’ Hits Telluride

Pete Hammond

Awards buzz has grown around Bill Murray ever since it was announced he would be playing FDR in Focus FeaturesHyde Park On Hudson. His is not the first name that comes to mind when you think of serious portrayals of U.S. Presidents. But he pulls it off without a hitch, and early reaction at its first-ever public screening Friday night at the 39th Telluride Film Festival was very good. Maybe we’ll have a Presidential shoot-out at the Oscars between Murray’s FDR and Daniel Day Lewis’ Abe Lincoln?

I have always thought Murray got robbed of a much deserved Best Actor Oscar in 2003 for Lost In Translation when Sean Penn swooped in and stole it for Mystic River. The problem this year is that the category is overloaded with so many genuine contenders that Academy voters easily could find 10 deserving performances to fill only the 5 slots. Murray’s is a subtle but engaging portrait. And Oscar voters are suckers for performances which not only show an actor can play against type but also take on well-known historical figures. Murray’s FDR fits the bill as definite Oscar bait. Hyde Park On Hudson also has another plus that gives it plenty of Academy potential. It is the second film in three years to deal in some way with England’s King George VI. This plot, set in 1939, involves an invitation for the new King to visit President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. So the stuttering monarch, this time played by Samuel West, is back in Telluride where the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech debuted on its first stop to Best Picture glory in 2010.

Related: Toronto Film Fest: What Looks Good For Oscar?

Related: Hot Trailer: ‘Hyde Park On Hudson’ Read More »

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EMMYS: Unfunny Comedies?

By | Wednesday June 20, 2012 @ 12:30pm PDT

Ray Richmond is a contributor to AwardsLine

Boardwalk EmpireIt was in 2010 that Edie Falco caused something of a stir at the Emmy Awards when – after winning the lead comedy actress Emmy for Showtime’s Nurse Jackie – she began her acceptance speech, “Oh this is just the most ridiculous thing that has ever happened in the history of this lovely awards show. Thank you so much. I’m not funny!”

No one seemed to think that Falco was ungrateful so much as genuinely flabbergasted. And those who were regular watchers of her show may have agreed with her, underscoring how the definition of an Emmy-worthy comedic actress had so changed since the days of Mary Tyler Moore (a six-time winner in the category divided between The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Candice Bergen (who won for Murphy Brown five times) and even Helen Hunt (a four-time victor for Mad About You).

Related: EMMYS: Comedy Series Overview Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Hyde Park On The Hudson’

Bill Murray as FDR! Need we say more? Focus Features put up the theatrical trailer for Hyde Park On The Hudson, which depicts England’s King George VI spending a weekend at President Roosevelt’s estate in upstate New York. Directed by Roger Michell from Richard Nelson’s script, it also … Read More »

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EMMYS: Lead Comedy Actress Handicap

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s 2011 Emmy coverage. Here’s his scorecard assessing the Outstanding Lead Comedy Series Actress race.

Laura Linney, The Big C
Why She Was Nominated: Because, well, the TV academy couldn’t very well not nominate her. Her role as the cancer-stricken Cathy Jamison in The Big C showcases Linney’s mesmerizing acting range and depth. And she’s also a three-time Oscar nominee. That fact alone earns Linney significant brownie points and makes her Emmy nomination a foregone conclusion no matter the project or role. Having a past cinematic pedigree remains plenty huge.
Why She Has To Win: Simply stated, Linney never loses. She’s been nominated for Emmys three times: lead actress in a movie/miniseries twice (2002 for Showtime’s Wild Iris, 2008 for HBO’s John Adams) and as guest comedy actress once (2004 for Frasier). She’s won every time. Moreover, Linney’s The Big C submission is the pilot episode that finds her shifting effortlessly between high emotion and dark humor. Oh, plus the past pair of winners in the category — Toni Collette and Edie Falco — hailed from similar Showtime dramedies.
Why She Can’t Possibly Win: Someday, somebody will figure out that if you’re doing a seriocomic turn in a half-hour series, it’s likely more serio than comic. Falco said it herself onstage after winning last year for Nurse Jackie: “Oh this is just the most ridiculous thing that has ever happened in the history of this lovely awards show. Thank you so much. I’m not funny.” Linney isn’t as purely funny in her role as are her competitors here — and, well, this is supposed to be a comedy award. If that matters. Read More »

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Showtime Renews ‘The Big C’ For Season 3

By | Thursday September 1, 2011 @ 12:09pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

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Olivia Williams Courted To Play Eleanor Roosevelt Role In ‘Hyde Park On The Hudson’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Olivia Williams has emerged as the front runner to play Eleanor Roosevelt the Roger Michell-directed Hyde Park on the Hudson for Focus Features. She is in talks to join her Rushmore co-star Bill Murray, who plays Franklin Delano Roosevelt, … Read More »

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UPDATE: Laura Linney To Play FDR’s Mistress In ‘Hyde Park On The Hudson’

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: I was slightly misinformed on Laura Linney. Am told by her camp she will play Daisy, the distant cousin of FDR (Bill Murray), whose affair with the president is revealed during the visit of the Read More »

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Sundance: Update; Weinstein Co. Closes ‘The Details’ For $7.5 Million, $10 Million P&A

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: The Weinstein Company indeed closed this deal, and here are the details. I’m told the minimum guarantee was $7.5 million, with a P&A commitment upwards of $10 million. That makes The Details the largest minimum guarantee of … Read More »

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Golden Globes Winners List: ‘The Social Network,’ Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Annette Bening, David Fincher…

Ricky Gervais Assesses His Golden Globes Performance
Check out Nikki’s live-snarking from the event…
And here are the night’s big winners:

The Social Network

The Kids Are All Right

Colin Firth –
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TCA: ‘Big C’ Producers Talk Cancer, Gabourey Responds To Howard Stern

Nellie Andreeva

The Big C executive producer and cancer survivor Jenny Bicks bought a Porsche when she was diagnosed with cancer. “Don’t wait to get cancer to make yourself happy,” she said at the TCA panel for the upcoming Showtime dark comedy series starring Laura Linney as a woman diagnosed with cancer.

Creator/executive … Read More »

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‘My Boys’ Co-Star Joins Showtime’s ‘Big C’

Nellie Andreeva

ReidScottWhile his My Boys co-stars Jordana Spiro and Kyle Howard had to pull out of their regular roles on new NBC series Love Bites and Perfect Couples because of their commitment to the TBS comedy, Read More »

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Cynthia Nixon Joins Showtime’s ‘Big C’

Nellie Andreeva

20030916_sim_h16_217.jpgEXCLUSIVE: Laura Linney’s Cathy is getting Miranda as a friend. Cynthia Nixon, who played Miranda on the hit HBO comedy series Sex and the City and in the 2 features the show spawned, is joining the cast of Linney’s upcoming Showtime … Read More »

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