Laura Dern Gets 'Enlightened'
Award winning actress Laura Dern discusses her new show 'Enlightened,' her passion for activism, and "righteous anger."
BELIEFNET: In the show, Amy has this experience swimming in the ocean with a sea turtle where she experiences the presence of God, whatever that is specifically for her. Have there been any sea turtle-like experiences in your life you can point to? Perhaps a person of faith or a specific experience that made you say, "That is real and that is something I want.”
LAURA: I’ve got to say I feel very lucky to be able to say that I feel like I’ve had – even if they’re very small experiences, I’ve had profound opportunities like that throughout my life. Starting with the blessing of an extremely loving, generous, compassionate, and devoted grandmother from Alabama who really taught me that you can’t have a happy life if you ignore the experience of others. That is God’s work for her – was for her and so I was raised in a real awareness, I mean she was the person that stopped for any stray animal, she just couldn’t help herself she had that part. I feel very lucky and I was raised Catholic but I learned to meditate when I was 9-years-old and have been a meditator throughout my teenage years and early adulthood and continue to now and that’s been, for me, a great blessing even when I stray from it, whenever I come back to it, it helps me turn to stress and just a consistent ability to check in with what I'm feeling instead of kind of losing my way.
BELIEFNET: What do you hope, other then simply being entertained, that people draw from Amy and the show? Because the show definitely it feels like it has kind of a bigger purpose other than to simple tell a story.
LAURA: Yeah. Well I think our attempt is for sure a judgement-less look at self. You know its like lets take someone who even the face of the person and how we’re going to advertise this says “run, don’t engage, complicated, exhausting, over dramatic, you know woman on the verge” lets take all those segments and lets say without judgement lets go on a journey as this person examines herself, her family, her community, her planet and what is she going to do with all the feelings that is we’re really honest with ourselves we too have. We do different things with them but we have the same feelings and the same questions. And hopefully we’re going to make her equally inspiring and horribly intolerable so that it’s a fun ride and deeply authentic one but I think our hope is to keep asking questions of ourselves. That would be our ultimate interest. Not to preach an opinion or to get us anywhere but to with some compassion ask some interesting questions so that we can all find our way to what it is we’re here to figure out.
BELIEFNET: As I was watching it last night I was saying to myself, “I don’t really like Amy at all and I don’t think I would ever want to know her but I am oddly intrigued about what she’s going to do next. And I want to know what that is but oh dear gosh please don’t ever make me have to work with someone like that.”
LAURA: (laughing) Yeah exactly. Well I think – I hope you'll keep watching because I think it gets more interesting with that question.