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“One of the great things about getting older is that if you’re lucky enough, you get to work with some of the same people over and over again,” the actress Laura Linney said. “It’s my favorite, favorite thing to do.”

Ethan Hawke is one of those colleagues on repeat. Their relationship began with what she called a rather famously bad production of “The Seagull” in 1992.

Linney was thrilled, then, when Hawke asked her to play Flannery O’Connor’s mother, Regina, in his new film “Wildcat.”

“We’ve watched each other struggle and succeed and do well and be in pain,” Linney said. “There’s a trust that comes with time that you can’t generate.”

The four-time Emmy winner and three-time Oscar nominee talked about the memories evoked by Elton John, her not-so-secret addiction and how she hopes to be remembered. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.


I went to Juilliard. I’m on the board at Juilliard. Walking through the halls of Juilliard and seeing young artists at a level of concentration that you only have when you are in the midst of training, I find it incredibly life-affirming. It confirms everything I want and know to be true about why the arts are important.


I think because I grew up in New York City, there are places that I associate with every decade of my life. I can remember as a small child being taken through Grand Central for the first time, looking up at that ceiling. I can remember being a college student and striding through that place on my own, feeling independent as an adult. I go and just watch the humanity that is that hive of activity there. There’s such a glorious feeling of classic, gorgeous, old New York.


When you’re busy with active lives, just to sit down at a nice table, hopefully your home, particularly during the summer, to eat al fresco and make some food together and really relax and feel nature around you — and to have an intimate moment like that with the people who have witnessed your life, and you have witnessed theirs — I find that vitally important.


My father was a playwright. I have loved the theater since I can remember breathing. I love sitting in an empty theater alone with a ghost light on the stage. I love watching people do well in the theater, and I love supporting the things that maybe don’t quite work but you can see good stuff in there. It’s not easy what we do, and I hope that in some small way I’m a tiny part of a continuum of the history of the theater.


Daffodils and tulips and lilac and crocuses, and that incredible first green. The flowers make me happy in a childlike way, particularly daffodils. It’s like eye candy, and I’m just as excited every single year as I am the year before.


There’s something about the beauty of that place. Bethesda Fountain was one of the first major commissioned works by a female artist [Emma Stebbins]. And it was built to commemorate fresh water that was brought into the city for the first time. It always takes my breath away.


Being in a rehearsal room with Dan is just the most fulfilling artistic time. I’ve worked with wonderful directors, but because I’ve worked with Dan over and over and over again, and he knows me well, and I know him well, there is a comfort. I feel like it is an insane privilege to be in a rehearsal room with him. He doesn’t say a lot, but he’s so stealth.


Jeanne Tripplehorn has a love for Hollywood that is absolutely infectious. We will get into a car and we will drive all around the Hollywood Hills, and she will point to houses and tell me who lived here and who lived there. I remember she found the address of the love shack of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. You walk down this tiny hidden alleyway, and there’s an apartment behind it.


I love being surrounded by books. I like to smell them. I like to touch them. I like to see their covers. Going to a bookstore for me is as exciting as a fashionista going to Chanel. If that’s the addiction I’m going to have, I’ll take it.


The sound of his voice reminds me of the beginnings of things — the first time you fell in love, the first time you went away. I have memories of Elton John in a roller-skating rink. I remember Elton John at camp. I remember Elton John in summer stock. I used to warm up to Elton John when I was a student. I still love listening to Elton John. It’s like a kaleidoscope.

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