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Michigan Avenue - 2017 - Issue 4 - Fall - LauraLinney

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THE TALENTED MS. LINNEY Fresh off a Tony-nominated Broadway run in The Little Foxes, formidable talent (and former Northwestern undergrad) LAUR A LINNEY makes a thrilling return to TV in the new Netflix drama Ozark. by J.P. ANDERSON photography by JIM WRIGHT W ith four Emmys, four Tony nods, and three Academy Award nomi- nations for projects ranging from Tales of the City to The Big C and John Adams, Laura Linney is one of the most acclaimed actresses of her generation. The New York native and Juilliard grad still pushes herself like few others in the business—as in her just-wrapped turn in Lillian Hellman's stage classic The Little Foxes, where she and costar Cynthia Nixon drew rapturous reviews for swapping leading roles each night. Now it's back to TV for drama of a dif- ferent sort: the just-released Netflix original series Ozark, where the 53-year-old costars with series creator Jason Bateman as a husband and wife on the run from a drug cartel. As Linney—who has considered Chicago a second home since marrying Hinsdale native Marc Schauer in 2009—prepared for the series premiere, she chatted with Michigan Avenue about the fun of working with Bateman, her proudest career moment, and what thrills her about the Windy City. You're in the home stretch of The Little Foxes. How does it feel to be doing your last few shows? I'm a little in denial about it—if I think about it too much, I get very, very sad. It's been just a fantastic experience. It's been hard, and it's been challenging, and it's been demanding and frightening, but it's one of those full-on experiences that you don't get very often. So I'm going to miss it terribly; I'm going to miss everyone involved. And next up is Ozark—a very different kind of role. What drew you to it? It was all about Jason Bateman. I've known him over the years, but as an acquain- tance. I've always liked him. I've always been fascinated by his talent and how he lives his life, and just sort of all things Bateman. [laughs] So when he asked me to do this, I wasn't looking to do television, but I wanted to work with him. And because this is really so much his project, and he's so dedicated to it and so invested in it, I thought that would be a good way to spend my time. It's not the most obvious onscreen pairing—you're known for your dramatic expertise and he's a comedy pro. What was it like to join forces? It was no surprise to me that he's such a great dramatic actor, which he really is. If you are that grounded of a comic—if your comedy comes so much from situation, and its sort of interior timing—there's a lot there. We had a great time. I find that most comics are more serious, and most serious actors are more comic. There's a sort of undertow of the other that we have—the opposite undertow. What excites you about the project? It has its own sort of tone. There's been a lot of comparison to Breaking Bad , which is such a fantastic show, but it really does have its own tone. It's mysterious and it's dark, and it's murky. I hope people like it as much as I do. Netflix also just announced the development of a revival of Tales of the City. That was such a big break for you early on, and so many people are passion- ate about it. How do you feel about reentering that world? It's going to be wonderful, and I'm very very curious to see what they all come up with. And you know it's not official official; we'll see if it makes it to the next phase. I hope so. I told a friend yesterday that I was interviewing you, and he said, "She will always be Mary Ann to me." Oh, I just love it when people say that. How does it feel knowing that role has had such an impact on people? Tales is, with its enormous heart and its humor and its sort of magical quality, a politically important piece of entertainment. It was necessary at the time; it's still necessary, I feel. It's one of those pieces of entertainment that helped our culture, and means a lot to a lot of people. I'm always so proud when anybody mentions it. My son's middle name is Armistead for a reason! You've made incredibly smart choices in your career. What do you look for in a project? Well, thank you. I try. There are always things that don't work. The things that M MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM  111

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