Q&A: Laura Linney, actor

The Guardian
Rosanna Greenstreet
Saturday 13 June 2015 01.00 EDT

Born in New York, Linney, 51, was raised in a single-parent family. She appeared in the 1993 TV adaptation of Armistead Maupin’s Tales Of The City, starred on stage with Liam Neeson in The Crucible in 2002, and has been Oscar nominated three times. Her new film, Mr Holmes, is out on 19 June. Married to estate agent Marc Schauer, she lives in Connecticut and has a one-year-old son named Bennett.

When were you happiest?
During this past year, enjoying my family.

What is your greatest fear?
Everything that leads up to getting on a plane.

What is your earliest memory?
Talking to flowers in the front yard of my cousin’s home in Boone, North Carolina.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Self-loathing: it’s paralysing.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

What was your most embarrassing moment?
It’s less of a moment, more of a continuum.

Aside from a property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
A painting by Aron Wiesenfeld.

What is your most treasured possession?
My memory.

What is your screensaver?
My son, when he was a week old.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
If I tell you then everyone will be looking at it all the time.

What is your favourite smell?
Sun on skin.

What is your favourite word?
Places. At the top of the show, when the audience is seated and the cast and crew are ready to go, through the monitor in your dressing room, the stage manager calls “Places”.

Which book changed your life?
The Iliad.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Part of a large family.

What is top of your bucket list?
Do a musical. Learn to sing first.

What do you owe your parents?
My life.

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
They know who they are… I’m sorry.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My husband, son and the theatre.

What does love feel like?

What was the best kiss of your life?
The first time my son kissed me.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn’t. The good, the bad and the ugly have led me to a good place.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?
To see Laurette Taylor in The Glass Menagerie, and Jessica Tandy in A Streetcar Named Desire.

How do you relax?
Watching Game Of Thrones.

How often do you have sex?
None of your beeswax.

What is the closest you’ve come to death?
Watching my father die, I suppose.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My relationships.

How would you like to be remembered?
As a good parent.

Where would you most like to be right now?
Jumping off a dock into a New England lake on a sunny day and swimming with my family.

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