Laurie Metcalf on Lady Bird, her great year, and when she'll return to The Big Bang Theory
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After winning her first Tony Award and becoming an Oscar contender for her endearing role in Lady Bird, Laurie Metcalf is having the time of her life in Hollywood — and the goodness has only just begun. On March 27, she’ll reprise her Emmy-winning role as Roseanne’s frenetic sister Jackie Harris on the reboot of Roseanne. We asked Metcalf, one of our Entertainers of the Year, to reflect on the past 12 months and when she’ll show up back in Sheldon’s life on The Big Bang Theory.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you first learn about Lady Bird?
I read the script cold and I thought, oh what a great mother-daughter relationship. Very unique. Then when I talked to director/writer Greta Gerwig, that sealed the deal for me. I knew that Greta understood all of the characters in the movie that she had written so well. They were all so three dimensional. The drama teacher isn’t just a drama teacher. He’s done with care and precision. You get the sense she could build a movie around any member of the ensemble. The script came to me through Scott Rudin and I was really flattered. I hadn’t done a movie in, oh I don’t know when. I only had done a handful. I’m not that experienced in them. I’ve done mostly TV and theater, and so I thought this would be a real great time to shake things up and put my toe back in the movie pool again.
Is your character, Marion, intimidated by her daughter?
I think so. I think all of the guidance that Marion would like to give to her daughter comes out very aggressively, very strongly, and is couched in fear that she doesn’t know that her daughter is ready to leave the nest. That would mean Marion hasn’t done her job fully. Marion expects so much out of her daughter and doesn’t think that her daughter is appreciating all the opportunities that she has that Marion didn’t. It’s coming from a place of love but where they are in their relationship, there are so many buttons being pushed. They go from zero to 100 so quickly. But there’s a lot of humor in those scenes.
That moment when they are in the thrift shop together!
It’s so well-written and crafted by Greta, because there is a lot of passive aggressive behavior going on. It’s a mother-daughter dynamic that can flip in an instant where they are bickering at each other and all of sudden what they have both been searching for has been magically placed in front of them and all of that goes away and they reunite as a team again. It happens so quickly I think sometimes maybe males are shocked by it.
How did the Roseanne reunion come about?
I got a call from Sara Gilbert saying, “Would you be interested in doing a reunion show? Maybe we’ll do eight or nine episodes.” Everybody immediately said yes. A lot of it was just really serendipitous. I wanted to immediately jump into that world again. It was something I remembered so vividly and with such real tenderness. We were a family for nine seasons. I had a feeling as soon as we stepped back onto the stage again, it would just reappear. And it did.
You’ve had such a great year.
I’ve had such a great couple of years! I’ve had a lot of really great writing come my way and offers of letting me interpret that writing. So getting a gift like that is Christmas. Here is a script and you’re asking me to interpret that for you? How lucky can I get?
When will we see you back as Sheldon’s mom on The Big Bang Theory?
I generally do one or two episodes a year. I just shot one!