Laura Dern Talks The ‘Gift’ And Backlash Of Working On Ellen DeGeneres’ Coming Out Episode: ‘A Lot Of People In My Life Really Worried’

Laura Dern might have a new fan base after appearing on “Big Little Lies” but for others, the iconic actress has been in their hearts since “Blue Velvet”.

She almost didn’t take up the role since she had only started college and they were hesitant to give Dern a leave of absence until the saw the script.

“I gave them all the information, and at the end, they read it and said, ‘Not only are you giving up your college career if you go make this film, but we can’t believe you would want to do this movie anyway,'” Dern recalled.

“That movie was ‘Blue Velvet’, and now, when you go to get your master’s in film at that school, three movies are musts — one of them is ‘Blue Velvet’. But I never got a degree until now,” she added as she received her honorary degree.

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Dern appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’ sitcom “Ellen” for the coming out episode as the character who helps Ellen realize she is gay. It was groundbreaking at the time as LGBTQ rights were few and far between.

“Greatest thing I could’ve ever been part of, honestly. An incredible honour….I was excited. I didn’t think twice about it. It was a great opportunity. And then the calls started coming in once I’d said yes, from a couple of advisers in Hollywood who were out gay men, [telling me] to not do it. A lot of people in my life really worried. And I was like, ‘This is ridiculous,’” Dern told Vulture.

The actress admitted that she wasn’t aware the gay community was not in a place of acceptance until there was a bomb threat on set.

“We only did it for what, ten days? We all spent the next couple of years really struggling in work and safety. It was radical to experience that. It was the only time I ever experienced having to have to have full security detail,” she added.

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Dern continued to explain that the “gift” of working on “Ellen” was enough despite not having any other jobs for a year after.

“It’s shaped and continues to shape who I am as an advocate, as an activist, as a parent. It’s a profound thing when you see someone bring their truth, but also all the layers of shame and fear that have been put onto you because of feeling like the other, whatever your experience is. So I’m forever grateful,” she added.

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