‘Ozark’ Star Laura Linney Reveals How Her Rising Success Led to Her Working With Her Childhood ‘Idol’

by Joe Rutland

When it comes to success, Ozark star Laura Linney would find herself rising higher which led her to work with her childhood “idol.” Linney, who played Wendy Byrde opposite Jason Bateman’s Marty Byrde, has won Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards. In addition, she’s been nominated for Academy Awards and Tony Awards, too. Yet getting to work with a specific person just made her life brighter.

Linney says that success “has really changed the contents of my closet” in an interview with Vulture. “That was the big thing. I think it can certainly give you [the] opportunity and open the door to meeting other people, and that’s thrilling. My idol growing up was Maggie Smith, hands down. I watched The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie a gazillion times.” Linney adds that she’s “always had a thing for her.”

Laura Linney of ‘Ozark’ Recalled Maggie Smith As Kind, Supportive

The actress remembers what happened when she did My Name Is Lucy Barton in London. Linney said that instead of a large party, a little gathering was taking place in the lobby. She recalls that she “walked up the stairs, and there was Maggie Smith. I couldn’t believe it, I almost turned around and left. She was so kind and so supportive, and I was like, ‘I never need another good review for the rest of my life. Whoo. Maggie Smith doesn’t think I suck.'” A few words about My Name Is Lucy Barton, which was a one-woman show adapted from an Elizabeth Strout novel by Rona Munro. The actress would star in that London production which opened in 2018. The play moved to Broadway later. Linney did receive a Tony Award nomination for her role.

Back to her time with Smith. “Now I’m about to go do a movie with her,” Linney says. “So in that way, success is really wonderful, in that it can confirm that you’re in the right place, that you’re doing the right thing. It can say, ‘Yes, keep going. Yes, keep working. Yes.’ Psychologically, that’s a big deal.” But she also offers a cautionary tale about success, saying that it can overshadow the work.

Looking back on Ozark, she has some thoughts on why Wendy acts in a really warped way. In an interview with GQ, Linney said that Wendy knows how to survive. Wendy also believes there is something better for everybody. “I think she really does believe that,” she said. “It’s just her. She doesn’t have the tools to do it in an ethical, dignified way. She does it in a messy, hot mess, really warped way.” For fans of Linney, maybe one tip you can take away is to stay focused on the work. Let it help you succeed.