The iconic Laura Dern was the recipient of the inaugural Honorary Degree at the annual Vulture Festival on Saturday.
Dern spoke with Vulture senior writer E. Alex Jung about her extensive film career, growing up in Hollywood, and going against the grain to consistently portray strong women. While Dern easily could have fallen into the 80s Brat Pack style of teen comedies– or as Dern once put it, “teen exploitation films”– she instead sought out challenging, complicated roles with auteur filmmakers like David Lynch.
“Something inside you is like ‘this is not a story I want to tell because this doesn’t feel true,'” Dern said about auditioning for roles like the supportive yet overlooked girlfriend or other stereotypical female characters. “It’s exciting that that’s shifting and more great writers are getting their material made.”
With upcoming films like Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story and Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, Dern continues her passion for portraying impactful leading ladies as a worthy Vulture Festival honorary.