Laura Dern is a national treasure, and after last year’s Oscar nominated work in Wild, she knocks it out of the park once again in 99 Homes. During the interviews for the film, I asked Dern about the keys to making her characters feel absolutely real.
Though director Ramin Bahrani sees his movie as a thriller, 99 Homes is set amidst the backdrop of the mortgage crisis, as unscrupulous real estate mogul Rick Carver (Michael Shannon) evicts Floridians out of their domiciles and turns the properties over for a profit. Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield) is one of Carver’s recent evictees, but desperate to get his own home back, Nash goes to work as Carver’s right hand man.
Initially hesitant to evict people, Dennis grows to love the easy money he’s making while working for Carver, as taking care of his mother (Dern) and son (Noah Lomax) are his primary motivations.
Though great actors give their share of memorable performances, Dern is that rare artist who seems to embody all of her roles no matter what the genre (her diverse work includes Wild at Heart, Inland Empire, Recount, I am Sam, and Citizen Ruth).
I asked if it’s her inner compassion that helps bring these characters to life.
“It’s just not wanting to shame my parents (Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd),” says Dern. “They would expect nothing less than any of us. I was raised with the belief that you got to be as honest as possible and reveal yourself through it.”
To hear Dern’s full answer, check out the Soundcloud clip below:
99 Homes opens nationwide September 25.
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