‘Ozark’ Star Laura Linney Reveals Moment She Understood Wendy Byrde

by Chase Thomas
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It might be hard to believe, but it has already been a week since the first half of the final season of “Ozark” was released for folks on Netflix. The show now has just seven episodes remaining for fans to stream before it all ends in 2022. One of the characters fans are most curious about is Wendy Byrde. Her influence continues to grow on the show. As viewers have seen, there is a major difference between the relationships for Wendy and her two children: Jonah and Charlotte. The character is tough to understand, but “Ozark” star Laura Linney revealed the moment she understood Wendy Byrde.

In a new interview with GQ, Linney said, “Chris Mundy [Ozark’s showrunner] and I talked early on. When you’re playing the wife of the main character of the show, it can be wonderful or there can be not a whole lot to play. I didn’t care how big my part was, I just wanted to have something that I could really play that would help move the narrative of the story forward. Chris and I talked a lot about identity. I think at the time, I was questioning that—who are we as Americans? Who are we? As an American citizen, who am I? Who did I think I was? Who did I want to be?”

Wendy Byrde of ‘Ozark’

There was a lot more meat on the bone for this kind of character and Linney liked that. She had to figure out who this character was at her core. She continued, “And then I started thinking about that family and how they really don’t know each other very well. They functioned well enough to have a solid middle-class life, but they didn’t know each other well and they didn’t know themselves well. In the course of the show, they all get to really learn about themselves and learn about each other in a very different light.”

The family was not all that close. It took Marty doing what he did for the family to connect. For the family to grow and really understand who each other really is. She continued, “When we shot the episode where she twirls the possum and it goes on top of the roof—I had a moment when I got that script where I thought, “How does she know how to do that? How would a woman from Chicago know how to fling a possum by the tail and not be afraid of it? And how is it that she knows how to talk to all these people in the Ozarks in a way that is blunt and cuts right through and she’s not scared of them? What is that?”

Now What for Wendy Byrde?

Wendy Byrde was a tough character to crack. She is not who she ever seems to be.

Linney concluded, “She’s a foreigner, but I could smell something familiar there. Chris and I talked, and I said, “She’s not from Chicago. She’s from a variation of the Ozarks, and now part of the reason that she has resisted going there is because she’s right back where she started.” She fought so hard to get out of that environment. And then the whole character…the kaleidoscope shifted and I could just see it all.”

She does not hide it anymore. On the program, she is back to who she was growing up. You can watch “Ozark” on Netflix now.

Outsider.com