Laura Linney is nice—so nice that Frank Bruni tries to force her to be mean, by bringing up onetime costar Alicia Silverstone. (Linney studied at Juilliard; Silverstone starred in Aerosmith videos.) But no such luck: “Oh, I love her,” Linney says, with not a trace of sarcasm. “She’s a really great actress who’s not been respected.” Bruni fears his New York Times magazine profile on Linney will be “the fluffiest of the puffiest of articles”—instead, it provides insight into the celebrated actress who has managed to keep her feet on the ground.
“I’m lucky to be here” seems to be Linney’s mantra, and her new project—playing a dying woman on Showtime’s The Big C—allows her to ruminate on that. “It deals with all of the stuff I’ve been obsessing about anyway: time. Living. Aging. Mostly, the privilege of aging,” she says. Natasha Richardson is one friend she’s lost recently, and Armistead Maupin discloses that two months after her death, Richardson’s husband and Linney’s longtime friend Liam Neeson walked Linney down the aisle. “It was an astonishing moment,” he says. “A celebration of love and loss, being given equal treatment.”