Part of 2019 Film Festival
Laura Dern: Tribute + “Trial by Fire”
Join us for a special onstage conversation with Laura Dern covering her singular career, followed by a special advance screening of her new film Trial by Fire.
In Edward Zwick’s searing drama, adapted from a 2009 New Yorker article by David Grann, Cameron Todd Willingham (Jack O’Connell) is convicted of an arson-related triple homicide and placed on death row. In the film’s second half, his pen-pal friendship with playwright Elizabeth Gilbert (Laura Dern), who becomes his advocate, takes center stage. Dern ignites the film as a woman determined to save an innocent man from execution. O’Connell’s performance is her equal, a portrait of a crude, violent man whose behavior makes it all too easy to assume his guilt. Based on a true story, Trial by Fire lays out how easily questionable testimony and ingrained prejudice can lead to a false conviction.
The daughter of two of the most acclaimed actors of their generation, Laura Dern has become one of the most acclaimed actors of her own. She has received two Academy Award nominations, two SAG nominations, four Golden Globe Awards, and a Primetime Emmy Award in addition to seven nominations, proving herself to be a power woman in entertainment. In 2016, she was also selected to serve on the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors. Her breakthrough role as a teenager in thrall of a seductive man in Joyce Chopra’s Bay Area-set Smooth Talk (1985) established how deeply under the skin she can sink into her characters. A year later, she began one of her most fruitful professional alliances when David Lynch tapped into her girl-next-door appeal, her presence a sharp contrast to the depravity around her, in Blue Velvet (1986). Most recently, Dern demonstrated another side of herself in collaboration with Lynch as Dale Cooper’s fierce secretary Diane in Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return (2017). Her performances as a young Southern seductress in Rambling Rose (1991) and as Cheryl Strayed’s devoted, dying mother in Wild (2014) both earned Academy Award nominations. More recently, she won an Emmy for her extraordinarily shaded performance in the HBO series Big Little Lies. Recent and upcoming roles reveal Dern’s magnificent range: the inscrutable Diane Evans in Twin Peaks: The Return, documentary filmmaker Jennifer Fox in The Tale (2018), literary hoaxer Laura Albert in Jeremiah Terminator Leroy (2019), control-freak businesswoman Renata Klein in Big Little Lies (returning for a second season in June), and genteel Marmee March in Greta Gerwig’s Little Women (2019), coming this Christmas.
Edward Zwick is a prolific director, writer, and producer for film and television. As a feature film director, his films have included his debut, About Last Night (1986); Glory (1989), for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Director; Leaving Normal (1992); Legends of the Fall (1994), for which he received a second Golden Globe nomination; Courage Under Fire (1996); The Siege (1998); The Last Samurai (2003); Blood Diamond (2006); Defiance (2008); Love & Other Drugs (2010); Pawn Sacrifice (2014); and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016). He has won a Best Picture Oscar for Shakespeare in Love (1998), a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Limited Series or a Special for Special Bulletin (1983), and a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series in 1988 for Thirtysomething (1987-91).
Director Edward Zwick
Producer Kipp Nelson, Alex Soros, Allyn Stewart, Edward Zwick
Writer Geoffrey Fletcher
Editor Steven Rosenblum
Cinematographer John Guleserian
Music Henry Jackman
Cast Laura Dern, Jack O’Connell, Emily Meade
Print Source Roadside Attractions