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Who's Talking to Chris Wallace

Hollywood On Hold, Actors' And Writers' Strikes Heats Up; Chris Wallace Interviews Actress Laura Linney; Country Music Star Miranda Lambert Calls Out People Taking Selfies During Her Performance. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired July 21, 2023 - 22:00   ET




CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST: Tonight, with Hollywood on strike, we hear from two of its biggest stars. First, Matt Damon, who's gone from big screen heavyweight to studio exec.


MAT DAMON, ACTOR: The economic model of movie-making hasn't really been updated.


WALLACE: Before the actors strike started, Damon opened up about his role in one of the year's most anticipated movies.


DAMON: Are we saying there's a chance that when we push that button, we destroy the world?


WALLACE: And his long friendship with high school bestie, Ben Affleck.


DAMON: When you were selling sneakers out of the back of your Plymouth, that was risky. Don't change that now.


WALLACE: And later, acting powerhouse Laura Linney and her new film and for unforgettable characters, from feisty prosecutor to matriarch of a crime family.


LAURA LINNEY, ACTRESS: It was fun. she was fun.


WALLACE: Good evening and welcome back to Who's Talking.

Tonight, Hollywood is on hold. We're in the second week of the actors' strike and the third month of the writers' strike, meaning nothing is being created in Tinseltown.

Both groups are demanding higher pay and more revenue-sharing from T.V. and film studios in the face of streaming services and artificial intelligence. And some of the best paid actors in the business are supporting rank and file members, some of whom are struggling to make ends meet.

Because of the strike, all movie publicity is suspended. So, tonight's conversations were taped before the strike, and we start with Matt Damon and his big new movie out today.


WALLACE: Your latest movie is just out, Oppenheimer, about the scientist who led the effort to create the first atomic bomb. You play General Leslie Groves, who is the military leader of the Manhattan Project.

DAMON: Tolman, thinks you have integrity, but he also strikes me as a guy who knows more about science than people.

CILLIAN MURPHY, ACTOR: Yet here you are. You don't take much in trust.

DAMON: I don't take anything on trust.

WALLACE: Groves was a bulldozer of a man who famously called the scientists children, crackpots, and prima donnas.

DAMON: Right.

WALLACE: Why did you want to play this role this?

DAMON: The director, Chris Nolan, is one of the best directors to ever live and he makes extraordinary movies. It plays like a thriller, like you're on the edge of your seat the entire time.

But the Groves character is very, very -- I found him very funny, because I found him humorous because he was humorless. There was such a kind of philosophical difference right, between the military mind and the scientific mind. The military guys were obsessed with secrecy and compartmentalization and need to know, as they should be.

This was -- we're talking about the potential to destroy humanity and at the same time the scientists were of the mind that we needed to share all the information we could so that we could get to the truth, because that's what scientists do. They build on each other's work. And so there was this natural tension in the relationship.

But on top of that, Groves was a brusque, you know, no B.S. military man. He had no problem kind of putting people in their place or dressing people down. And, you know, people would say, look, he wasn't well-liked. And I always thought, I bet on his list of objectives.

WALLACE: Well-liked was down at the bottom.

DAMON: It was like under the first 500 things he was trying to accomplish. What they were trying to do was so logistically and it was just -- it was near impossible.

WALLACE: He was also the guy that built the Pentagon in a year-and-a- half.

DAMON: Exactly.

WALLACE: Before he did the Manhattan Project.

DAMON: Which is how he got the job, yes.

WALLACE: But Oppenheimer, in the movie he talks about this, he plays a huge role in ending World War II because he develops the bomb that's dropped on Hiroshima that gets the Japanese to surrender. On the other hand, after the war, he is swept up in the red scare and seen as a communist or a communist sympathizer and is shunned.


And the question I have, as I watched the movie, is do you see any parallels to the politics of today in all of that?

DAMON: Clearly, Oppenheimer was targeted politically. He -- post- World War II, he came out against the hydrogen bomb, which was an even bigger bomb. And a lot of the scientists went from their ambition and that kind of scientific and very humankind of curiosity of can we do this, to, oh my God, what have we done, apropos your question of the politics of today.

You see that repeated out all the time. You see that borne out in our culture all the time when somebody is being attacked. You always have to look at, well, wait, who's attacking them and why? Like what's the agenda behind this person who's being attacked and why are they being -- why were they the hero of the country two minutes ago and now they're being -- it's a very interesting phenomenon.

WALLACE: Anyone who deals with this subject, and I wrote a book and you're now in this movie, I think ends up having to deal with the central question. Was the U.S. right or wrong to drop the bomb on Hiroshima? Where do you come down on that?

DAMON: That such an impossible question. I remember talking to Ben Affleck's grandfather, who was a Marine, and he had done in the Pacific and he had landed on -- he had done this beach landings. And he had lost a lot of men. And they were told in advance of the mainland invasion that they were going to lose six out of ten men.

And he said, I -- when we heard about the bomb drop, we cheered. And he said, I -- you know, this is 50 years later he's telling me this. And he goes, I lived with the fact that I did, because but this is what they were telling us, that they were going to fight to the last man and that we were going to -- you cover it in your book. They said between 250,000 and 1 million Americans.

WALLACE: You read my book?

DAMON: I did read it, it was fantastic.

WALLACE: It's called Countdown 1945, and it's available on Amazon.

DAMON: It's actually -- it's not to be shamelessly pumping your book but it really is great. And it reads like a --

WALLACE: But that -- your point is exactly right, which I think people fail to realize, and I didn't until I wrote, studied and wrote the book, which is it's not like you're going to kill all these people in Hiroshima or nothing is going to happen.

DAMON: Right.

WALLACE: If you don't kill them, there's going to be an invasion of Japan by the U.S. soldiers. It's going to extend the war at least another year-and-a-half. And probably more people were going to die in the invasion, Americans and Japanese, than died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

DAMON: The political calculus is a no-brainer. The moral question is, it's --

WALLACE: So, what would you have done?

DAMON: Boy, I probably would have had a head of gray hair, but -- you know what I mean? Presidents just go -- their hair goes white. Like, you know, it's funny, because when you look at it, you think there's really only one choice to make and yet you look at the people who made that choice. It was like a shockwave going through them.

WALLACE: Well, speaking of politics, the Trump campaign --

DAMON: Oh, God. Oh no.

WALLACE: -- this is a segue, posted a video, in which they used a pitch that you make to Michael Jordan in your recent movie, Air, only they make it to promote Donald Trump. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone will be forgotten as soon as our time here is up. Except for you. You're going to be remembered forever because some things are eternal. And your story is going to make us fight and never give up.


DAMON: I think they took it down.

WALLACE: Well, I was going to ask, did they take it down? Because I know you denounced it, you and Ben Affleck.

DAMON: Yes. We said, you don't have our permission to use that, so please --

WALLACE: Right. But the last I heard, it was still up on Truth Social.

DAMON: Yes. I don't know what to make of it. I mean, you know, he's probably -- I'm glad they like our writing.

WALLACE: I want to talk briefly about you, because there is a saying in Hollywood, to do a Matt Damon. I don't know if you've heard this expression.

DAMON: Is it flattering or unflattering?

WALLACE: No, it's very flattering. It means to show up, to do a good job and to be a good guy. And I wonder how odd does it feel to you to be singled out for doing the right thing?

DAMON: I don't know. I mean, I think there are a lot of -- I've met a lot of really nice people that I've worked with. I actually haven't had any bad experiences. I really have and I mean --

WALLACE: In Hollywood?

DAMON: In Hollywood.

WALLACE: I was going to say, to put it differently, and maybe when you're making so much money and there are so many people catering to your every whim, how hard is it not to be a jerk?


DAMON: In my case, it feels very easy. I feel incredibly fortunate. I feel --

WALLACE: But can you understand how somebody could go down that path and --

DAMON: Well, what I could understand for sure, I think for one thing, I think depending -- I think it's very surreal to be --

WALLACE: Say the words, movie star.

DAMON: Right, to be famous.


DAMON: Okay, so this is something that you could actually appreciate --

WALLACE: Not at your level, but go ahead.

DAMON: But that -- and I was very careful early on to be thoughtful about not having that infect my most primary relationships. It becomes really convenient to have friendships or associations where nothing is asked of you, where it's like, oh, every joke you make is funny, you know what I mean? And that's a great feeling, but it's not real. And so I really wanted to make sure that, you know, with my friends and with my wife and with my kids that there was still -- my ideas were still getting pressure-tested and I still had to compromise and there was still challenges and that relationships felt equal.

WALLACE: So, George Clooney --

DAMON: Who, by the way, blurbed your book. And that was the first thing, I got your book, and I flipped it over, and I go on -- great, he didn't get me to blurb it, he got George to blurb it. Okay, carry on.

WALLACE: Well, if I'd sent it to you what would you have said?

DAMON: I would have blurbed it. I would have given you a much better book.

WALLACE: You didn't know who I was. We've never met.

DAMON: Stop it. We've never met but I know who you are.

WALLACE: Okay. Well, in any case, George Clooney once told me that in the movie, The Monuments Men, he had the wardrobe people take in your uniform a little bit each week so that you would think, despite the fact you weren't trying to put on weight, that, in fact, you were getting fat. One, is that true? Two, did it work? And, three, did you ever get him back for it?

DAMON: Okay. First of all, you know George. So, you can answer the first question. Is it true? Of course, it's true. Like, yes, yes, he totally did that.

I've never tried to get George back for anything because I just know the countermeasures are going to be so severe. He does not -- I saw it happen once. I saw it on Oceans 12. Brad Pitt sent out letters in Italian to the Italian crew.

Now, George had just bought this place in Lake Como. He was very, very proud to be living in Italy a lot of the time, loves the country. He's like Mr. Italy. Everybody loves George there. And Brad put this letter to the crew out, as if it was from George, which said -- or George's people -- please understand you're working, with Mr. Clooney, you may not look him in the eye at any time. You will not refer to him as George. You may call him only Mr. Clooney or Mr. Ocean.

And so for a few days, the crew was a very -- and George read that because he's the life of the set, hey, how is everybody doing, and he comes in. And He's like something's weird and he can't figure it out. And we were all staying together at his house and he came home. And that's the maddest I've ever seen him because he was -- because Brad got him.

And Brad sat there and he just said -- and he just sat there and goes, just leave everybody else around me out of it, just come just for me. WALLACE: Just come for me. They're all civilians.

DAMON: Yes, leave other civilians out of it.


WALLACE: Up next, we go back to the beginning and the real reason Matt wrote Good Will Hunting. And we go inside his famous friendship with Ben Affleck.


WALLACE: Did you ever have a falling out? Did you ever, in those years, have a point where you weren't talking to each other?




WALLACE: Matt Damon is a proven leading man. But he's also been a part of some star-studded casts, from Oceans 12 to The Departed. We'll get to all that.

But we continue the conversation with his first movie, Good Will Hunting.


WALLACE: Your origin story has kind of become a legend that you were working on a script at Harvard, that you then started working on it some more with your high school buddy, Ben Affleck. You go to Hollywood, you sell it. And it ends up becoming Good Will Hunting. Here you are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's my number. Maybe we can go out for coffee sometime.

DAMON: Do you like apples?


DAMON: Well, I got her number. How do you like them apples?

WALLACE: I have to tell you, that is a line in the Wallace family we occasionally use on each other, how do you like them apples?

DAMON: Glad it lasted. Yes, yes. That was a funny one.

WALLACE: What is the most interesting thing we don't know about this whole story?

DAMON: I guess probably this generation probably doesn't know a lot of the story. I mean, we were -- you know, Ben was living on my couch when we sold it. He had -- it was in an engagement gone wrong. And so he was on our couch, me and another buddy went to high school with. And so we were really writing it to try to kind of get out of the living situation we were in.

WALLACE: Got him off your couch?

DAMON: Yes, everybody get their own room. And we just really, you know -- we really believed in it and the movie got made. We had to be the ones who played the roles. And that really was the difference.

WALLACE: Okay. So, Ben and you win the Oscar for best screenplay. And there's a story I read that you go home that night with Oscar, and you say to yourself, thank God I didn't screw over anybody to get this because it wouldn't have been worth it.

DAMON: Right.

WALLACE: Is that true?

DAMON: That's totally true, yes. I found myself like 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning just sitting alone with the thing, staring at it. And that was the thought. I had this kind of weird flash forward to a life that didn't happen, which I was for some reason 83 years old, I don't know why, and I had the Academy Award finally.


And I had this life of, you know, carnage behind me. And it was just -- so I was 27 at the time. And I just -- kind of that thought just kind of revealed itself to me. Thank God I didn't screw anybody over.

WALLACE: So, to the degree that you at 27 were thinking, if the Oscar wasn't going to bring you happiness, what did you think would?

DAMON: Well, that was the question, right? And so it really -- it was a real gift in the sense that it kind of released me of ever thinking that anything external was going to make me -- any item, thing, material, object, anything would ever fill my soul up. You know, it was the work itself that I really, really love and still do and really enjoy.

WALLACE: Five years after Good Will Hunting, you make the first of four Jason Bourne movies. Here's the first one.

You kind of like --

DAMON: I look like I'm about 12 years old. I can't -- that's all. So, again, directors, because this directed by -- Doug Liman, is just -- that was all Doug's idea, this idea. He was like, we need a James Bond for us, for our generation. And that was his whole thing. And it's just so funny looking at it. Like because I remember saying to him, like I can't -- me, because I've never done anything like that.

WALLACE: But I want to pick up on that, because one of the trade papers said after these movies that you were the decade's best mixer of brains and brawn. And I guess the question I have is, how calculated was it, your move, all right, I've done Good Will Hunting, I've shown sensitive, now I'm going to show I can be an action hero, and just, generally speaking, how strategic are you as you plot your career?

DAMON: Decidedly unstrategic. Yes.

WALLACE: Really?

DAMON: Yes, because I've talked to people about this and, you know, all the inside baseball. And we all talk about it all the time. I've never believed that you can -- nobody knows what movie is going to be a hit and what going to -- you just don't know, right?

You know, I've been in some terrific bombs, you know what I mean? We just don't know. And so to say, I'm going to do a big movie and a small movie, and it's like forget it, it will never work. It was just -- to me, my calculus has always been about the director. And I'll even go to work with a great director with no script, and I have. And I'll put my faith in that result more than just about anything because it's really -- it's all about who's directing the movie.

WALLACE: In 2006, you play a mob spy inside the Massachusetts State Police in The Departed.

JACK NICHOLSON, ACTOR: We got a cop in my crew.

DAMON: Yes, I know. I'm kind of getting that feeling too.

WALLACE: I have to say, I hated you so much in that.

DAMON: Yes, no, it was a great role.

WALLACE: You were such a rat.

DAMON: Yes, exactly. That was it.

WALLACE: Yes, as we saw from the final scene.


WALLACE: So, Jack Nicholson, Leo DiCaprio, directed by Martin Scorsese, how amazing was that?

DAMON: Just a bunch of hacks, you know?

WALLACE: Yes, and you kind of lifted them up.

DAMON: I really, I carried them on my back.


DAMON: No, it was an amazing opportunity, you know. And it was this weird thing where Brad Pitt was going to play the role, and he was producing it. And he just gave it to me. That's probably the only time in my career that something like that just fell into my lap. It was incredible. WALLACE: You and Ben have created, along with some other people, your own independent studio called Artist Equity. And I wonder to what degree is that because the economics of the industry has changed with streaming?

DAMON: Yes, it's largely because of that and also because the economic model of moviemaking hasn't really been updated, and so we -- since for 100 years. So, there's bloat in budgets and people who make movies know where it is. And we felt like we could make movies on average about 20 percent cheaper than other people if we worked smarter, and we could pass that savings on to our crews.

And so that's what -- so, we've made three movies at this point. We ran the numbers and our crews have made on average over 20 percent above their highest quote, so far, on the first three movies.

WALLACE: I want to ask one question before I go on about you and Ben. Because, I mean, for years, Matt and Ben, Ben and Matt, I mean, in High school, you're working together and now you're in your 50s and you're together. Did you ever have a falling out? Did you ever, in those years, have a point where, at least for a period of time, you weren't talking to each other?

DAMON: We've been bizarrely close for a long time. You know, I was watching Get Back, the Peter Jackson documentary. At the end of that, you see the Beatles --

WALLACE: About the Beatles.

DAMON: Yes. It's all about the Beatles. And at the end, they're playing on the roof in London and it says, this is the last time that they ever played together and live. And it made me so sad, like to think this -- because you look at them and they're so happy.

And Ben and I, I called him, and I said, look, man, you know, we were talking about doing this.


And it's like, we've -- it's been 25 years or something since Good Will Hunting. Like, let's -- what are we doing? We both kind of hit the lottery. Why aren't we working together more often? And, you know, after my dad passed, you know, in 2017, and Ben was very, very close with him, it's like it changed something in us, I think, in -- you know, you start to really -- you start to see the endgame. And you start to feel like I want to make every second count, you know? I really -- you know, I don't want to fritter away time anymore.

WALLACE: Finally, you have been involved for more than a decade with an organization called, which provides access to safe water and to sanitation. What exactly is it that does? How does it -- if you've got a village in India or Africa or whatever, how do you get clean water to them?

DAMON: Well, it's actually through micro-loaning. It's -- what we've realized, and the neat thing about it, is we've now reached 55 million people, okay, 55 million people with safe water and sanitation. And the way we did it was by actually just letting them take charge of their own solution.

There's a municipality piping water beneath the feet of people, but they're not connected to it. And so they're leaving jobs to go stand at a water tap or at a designated time someplace and it's terribly inefficient. And so if you give them a loan, $250 loan --

WALLACE: Literally?

DAMON: Literally $250. These are people who are surviving on dollars a day, so they have no savings. But if you can front them money for a water connection, they can connect to the utility, right? And then they don't have to leave their jobs to go do these things anymore. And they pay off the loans at above 98 percent.

WALLACE: With climate change, isn't access to water going to become even tougher?

DAMON: Yes, and massively important. So, you're going to have to have infrastructure that's climate resilient. You're going to -- and the people who are going to feel the brunt of this, right, first are going to be the poorest people, right?

WALLACE: Of course.

DAMON: And so, yes, so you don't want to backslide on the gains you've made and you want to try to start preparing, make this your infrastructure resilient and your communities resilient.


WALLACE: From one celebrated actor to another, Laura Linney is next. We talk about working with a legendary cast in her new movie.

Plus, I finally get to ask her a question that's been on my mind for 20 years.


WALLACE: In real life, what would you have done, kept kissing or answered the phone?





LAURA LINNEY, ACTRESS, "THE MIRACLE CLUB": Hi. I wouldn't have recognized you.

CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Actress Laura Linney is back with yet another touching performance. MAGGIE SMITH, ACTRESS "THE MIRACLE CLUB": Forty years would do that

to you.

CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Alongside an all-star cast in "The Miracle Club".

LINNEY, "THE MIRACLE CLUB": Oh, you remember me. I was sure you wouldn't.

WALLACE: Linney is known for her memorable characters, from the fierce matriarch in Ozark.

LINNEY, "OZARK": I'm trying to build a future for our family.

WALLACE: To the fake housewife in "The Truman Show".

LINNEY, "THE TRUMAN SHOW": Honey, are you OK?

WALLACE: Now, explore her award-winning career.

LINNEY: Do you think everybody knows?


WALLACE: And her true feelings about being a celebrity.

LINNEY: I don't need to see my face on the evening news.

WALLACE: As we get to know the more vulnerable side of this acting powerhouse.

LINNEY: Sounds nice.


WALLACE: You have got a new movie out called "The Miracle Club" in which you play a woman who returns to her neighborhood in Ireland after 40 years away. And there are some hard feelings.


LINNEY, "THE MIRACLE CLUB": Hi. I wouldn't have recognized you.

SMITH, "THE MIRACLE CLUB": OK, forty years will do that to you?

LINNEY, "THE MIRACLE CLUB": It'll do a lot of things to you.

SMITH, "THE MIRACLE CLUB": What? I'm sorry for your loss.

LINNEY, "THE MIRACLE CLUB": Eileen. Hi. Hmm. Oh, you remember me. I was sure you wouldn't.

KATHY BATES, ACTRESS, "THE MIRACLE CLUB": Yeah. Who forgets family?

LINNEY, "THE MIRACLE CLUB": Yeah. Who does that?


WALLACE: How big a draw was that? Getting to act alongside Maggie Smith and Kathy Bates.

LINNEY: It was everything. You know, it was absolutely everything. I've been a devoted fan of both of their work for a very long time, and they influenced me tremendously as I was a young actress in coming up. And Maggie Smith is the template for all of us, I think. Not only is she unbelievably beautiful, you know, her mind, her actor brain is so crystal clear and her ability to interpret text and make the right choices, her timing is incredible. I mean, it's -- it was really, I was pinching myself the whole time.

WALLACE: Without giving away any ages, she does have 30 years on you.

LINNEY: Oh yes, absolutely.

WALLACE: Would you like, if you could, to still be doing what you're doing, what she's doing, at her age?

LINNEY: Well, of course. I mean I hope I'm as healthy as she is and as mentally sound as she is.

WALLACE: But you wouldn't want to just hang it up and put your feet up and read a good book?

LINNEY: No -- well, hopefully there's a little bit of time for that as well, but you know, it's -- I think what -- I think for a lot of us, this is not just a profession, it's a vocation. And there's a pull to that. So, there is a need to contribute in a way, to somehow stay involved, to -- and to get better. I think you always feel like you just want to get a little bit better.


WALLACE: The first time I remember seeing you was as the prosecutor in "Primal Fear" --

LINNEY: Oh, yes. Yeah.

WALLACE: -- going after an altar boy, played by Edward Norton, who was accused, and you were like, go after him, of -- he's accused of killing an archbishop in Chicago --


WALLACE: --and the defense lawyer for the altar boy, who was accused, and you really go after him, of, he's accused of killing an archbishop in Chicago, and the defense lawyer for the altar boy is Richard Gere, who was your former boyfriend in the movie. Take a look.


LINNEY, "PRIMAL FEAR": He forced you using a threat of expulsion from Save Your House and a life on the street with no heat and no water and no food. He put you in front of a camera, he made you take off your clothes, and you don't think that that's another side. Another face of a man that we all thought we knew.


LINNEY, "PRIMAL FEAR": Do you know what I would do if someone did that to me? I would kill him. I wouldn't hesitate.



LINNEY: I look like a Baby Muppet.

WALLACE: Is that what you think?

LINNEY: Yes. It's, you know. It makes my heart grow a little bit. I'm like, oh, look at the sweet young actress trying to do it.

WALLACE: I think you look great in that.

LINNEY: Thank you so much. I had a wonderful time doing that movie and it was the first big lead I was given. And, you know, God bless Richard Gere, who has become a dear friend, and I've done several movies with him. But he really took a chance on both Edward Norton and myself. I mean, we were both completely unknown. And I had to, my audition for that movie was the entire role. I had to learn the entire role. I was flown to Los Angeles and did every single scene.

WALLACE: They couldn't tell from one or two scenes?

LINNEY: No, well, I think, understandably, Richard wanted to see, like, you know, could she really do this?


LINNEY: And so, we did the whole movie, I remember, in one afternoon.

WALLACE: I think it's fair to say your big breakthrough was in "The Truman Show", in which it's about a fellow who unbeknownst to him, he thinks he's living a real life, it's all a television show.


WALLACE: And all of the people in his life are really actors, and you play Jim Carrey's wife.


JIM CARREY, "THE TRUMAN SHOW": You're a part of this, aren't you?



LINNEY, "THE TRUMAN SHOW": You are scaring me!

CARREY, "THE TRUMAN SHOW": You're scaring me, Meryl. What are you going to do? Dice me? Slice me or peel me? There's so many choices!

LINNEY, "THE TRUMAN SHOW": Do something!

CARREY, "THE TRUMAN SHOW": What? What did you say? Who are you talking to?

LINNEY, "THE TRUMAN SHOW": Nothing, I didn't say anything.


WALLACE: So, you break the role to shout to the producers because you're worried for your life, and then you have to go back to being his wife. First of all, Jim Carrey. What do you want to say?

LINNEY: Yeah -- no, he was at the pinnacle of his fame when he made that movie. And it was amazing to watch him sort of navigate that. And my favorite memories of Jim were when he was just very quiet and very still on the set, reading. Because you don't see Jim carry still very often. He's a very animated person. He's physically, incredibly gifted. So, he's moving all the time. But to see him still and concentrating was really -- was really wonderful to see.

WALLACE: Looking back, do you feel that movie was ahead of its time in the sense that it totally foresaw where we were headed?

LINNEY: Absolutely, it did.

WALLACE: In terms of reality television.

LINNEY: You know you look at it now, it was way ahead of its time. I remember all of us, you know, sitting around talking about -- would this be possible? Could this actually happen? And you know, clearly, our culture has gone closer in that direction.

WALLACE: Do you have a guilty pleasure?

LINNEY: Oh sure, I was the biggest loser person for a while. I was, you know --you do get --

WALLACE: No, no, that's the reason they succeed.

LINNEY: Well, voyeurism is, you know, there's part of human nature that it -- you know, it does expose you to yourself in a way, the more you sort of fall into those shows. So, it is really a thing of its time. And as long as it's balanced with other things, I think it's fine.

WALLACE: And now we get to the movie where you broke my heart, "Love Actually", in which you play Sarah, who's got a huge crush on her coworker. But she's also taking care of a mentally ill brother who keeps calling her. And all of that comes crashing together here.


RODRIGO SANTORO, "LOVE ACTUALLY": We're making better.


SANTORO, "LOVE ACTUALLY": Then maybe. Don't answer.

LINNEY, "LOVE ACTUALLY": No. Hey, how you doing?



WALLACE: And needless to say, the moment ends. So, here's my -- I've got a couple of questions.


WALLACE: First of all, in real life, what would you have done? Kept kissing or answered the phone?

LINNEY: I think I would have answered the phone.

WALLACE: Oh my God.

LINNEY: Yeah, I would have answered the phone. Yeah. Because the decision that I made with this character is that if she doesn't answer the phone, he will kill himself.

WALLACE: But he won't. He's in a hospital. He's going to be okay.

LINNEY: No, no, no.

WALLACE: You say to him, you just said to the fellow that he's not going to fix things.

LINNEY: When you know someone who is really stricken with mental illness, it is -- it is a minefield. And I think I would answer the phone.

WALLACE: I'm feeling this all over again.

LINNEY: And you know, yeah, I think I would.

WALLACE: And the other question is, I read somewhere that at the time you were making that movie, both you and he, Rodrigo Santoro, had been dumped in real life.

LINNEY: We had been.

WALLACE: And that you both enjoyed having a kissing scene.

LINNEY: Well, we were both, you know, brokenhearted. We really were. And, you know, we looked at each other and I was like, guess what? I was like, we get to make each other feel better today. So, it was very, very sweet.

WALLACE: Still to come, Lenny reveals the secret behind playing her most famous role as the ruthless mom in "Ozark" and the ripple effect it's had in real life. LINNEY: I walk into restaurants and the maitre Ds are normally

getting nervous very quickly.




WALLACE: For all of Laura Linney's amazing work, it's the role of housewife-turned criminal mastermind Wendy Byrd in "Ozark" that millions of people know best. She played one of the Netflix series scariest characters in powerful scenes like this.


LINNEY, "OZARK": Who are you talking to?


LINNEY, "OZARK": What the (BEEP) is wrong with you? Are you trying to get yourself killed? Are you trying to kill my family? If you want to get killed, go run out into the street. Do you understand?

UNKNOWN, "OZARK": Listen, I know I (BEEP) up. I'm trying to fix it.

LINNEY, "OZARK": If she doesn't get what she wants, she will kill my children! This is not a game! This is real! It's real! Get in the car!


WALLACE: Was that what was fun, that you were out there? That you could --

LINNEY: I -- there were several things that were fun about it. A, the situation was ideal. I mean, shows don't come along like "Ozark" very often for an actor. It was a perfect environment in which to work. Jason Bateman was the greatest leader that you could have. It was just a heavenly situation. And she was just fun because she is so impulsive and she's wildly immature. She's very, very shrewd. And she's very smart, but she is not a mature human being. So, impulsively, she's just all over the place. She's very reactive. And I am not that way. I am fairly cautious. I mean, I can certainly explode like everybody, but it doesn't happen very often and I am a little controlled. So --

WALLACE: No to the file. Don't piss Laura Linney off.

LINNEY: That's right. Well, now it's fun. I walk into restaurants that I haven't been in before and the maitre Ds are normally getting -- they get nervous very quickly. But every once in a while, I can see a little twitch in someone's face.

WALLACE: Let's talk about the breadth of your career. You've been described as an actor's actor, Juilliard trained, broad experience in theater first, movies and television, four Emmys. How would you describe your career? LINNEY: I think I'm just, I'm a working actress, you know, which is

an amazing, amazing thing. And I will have moments still where I will, you know, be walking down the street and I'll have to stop. And I realize I've actually been able to do this.

WALLACE: Along those lines, are there any holes in your career that you would like to fill? For instance, and these may not be the ones.


WALLACE: -- to be in a blockbuster, to win an Oscar?

LINNEY: Not really. I sort of feel like what comes to you is what is meant to come to you. I mean, would it be nice to win an Oscar? Of course, it would be. Would it be nice to be in a big blockbuster? I don't know about that one. I mean, I can imagine there'd be really good things about it and some things that maybe wouldn't sit well with me.

WALLACE: Like what?

LINNEY: Well, you know, I'm sort of, you know, when I'm out with my son, he will say, well, like, how do you? How do all these people know you? And he'll look at me and be like, you're famous. I'm like, no, I'm not famous, I'm well-known. And there's a bit of a difference.

WALLACE: What is the difference?

LINNEY: Well, I think fame can really intrude. And I'm very fortunate because I'm at that, I'm at a place where, yes, I'm an established, I don't mean to undercut my own accomplishments, but I am able to live a relatively normal life. I'm on the subway, I walk down the street. But I think for the people who are really in white hot fame, I think that's a really challenging thing to go through. And I have the tremendous respect and empathy for those who go through it. And I'm -- it makes me very grateful for the road that I've been given.

WALLACE: When you got married in 2009, the man who was at the end of the aisle was Mark Shower and I read that he was your host at the Telluride Film Festival.

LINNEY: He was.

WALLACE: So, my question is, how did he evolve from host or handler as they were called?

LINNEY: Right -- to husband.

WALLACE: -- Well, I was not even there. Just something more than, you know, Miss Linney, this way.

LINNEY: Yeah, exactly. Well, it was very unexpected, as you can imagine.

[22:50:00] I -- you know, when you go to these film festivals, as we do, and it can be quite fun, it can also be a little strange when you meet the people who are going to help you through your events there. And sometimes they're quite odd, and sometimes they're quite wonderful. And I met Mark, and I was, I had been single for quite a long time. I sort of just shut it all down. I just had -- I was not looking. I was not interested. I was a little jaded by past experiences. And so, I just shut it. And I met him, and I can remember looking at him and thinking, am I attracted to this person? Like, what am I feeling? I didn't even know what I was feeling. I was like, am I attracted to my handler at a film festival? And it made me very nervous.

And I told myself, I was like, calm down, calm down. You know, so you're attracted to someone, fantastic. How great, you're waking up. So, you know, you're gonna be gone. And, you know, nothing happened while we were there, absolutely nothing. And we traded phone numbers at the end, and we started emailing each other. You know, it was very innocent. It was not -- no, like hot pursuit or anything like that but we had a sort of an old-fashioned thing and then he called and he said you know, I'm getting confused or he wrote. He said, I'm getting confused. I don't know what this is.

And I immediately picked up the phone. I was like, look, I have no idea what this is. I don't know if we're friends. I don't know if we're more than friends. The only thing I know is I don't want to let it go. But I can't promise you anything. I don't know what this is. And he was like, well, then we just need to spend some time together. And I was like, well, I guess maybe we do. And I was on tour, a press tour, and we met in Chicago. And that was that. That was that.

WALLACE: Well, it wasn't quite that, which brings me to my final area I want to talk to you about. At age 49, you had your first child, a little boy named Bennett.

LINNEY: You know, I was -- I was - it came to me very late in life. It was something I had wanted very intensely for a long time and really didn't think was going to happen. And then it did. You just think, like I'm the one who doesn't get to have kids?

WALLACE: Right. Right.

LINNEY: Are you kidding? I'm the one? Me? And then you have the child. And then you realize, oh, I had to wait for this child. This one. And then it all sort of makes sense. But -- so, it was quite a moment.

WALLACE: And does he have the acting gene?

LINNEY: I don't know. I don't know.

WALLACE: Would you want him to have the acting gene?

LINNEY: If -- if --listen, if it speaks to him, absolutely. And the thing that I tell a lot of parents, is that it is never wasted time for a child to spend time in the arts ever. It helps with concentration, it helps with problem solving, it helps with collaboration, it helps with discipline, and it helps with being able to learn how to sit in discomfort and then work through it. So, I, you know, when parents come up to me and they're all nervous that their child wants to be in the theater, be an opera singer, wants to be a poet or something, it's great news. It's just good news. It's not, it's nothing to be afraid of.

WALLACE: Lenny is a self-described theater nerd with a clear love of her craft and fellow actors. So, it's no surprise she was one of the first big name stars to sign a letter expressing support for the actor's strike. Up next, the selfie moment heard around the world.




WALLACE: Finally, tonight, a viral moment from one of our recent guests that got our attention. Country Music Star Miranda Lambert paused her performance in Las Vegas to call out fans who were taking a selfie while she was singing. Watch.


MIRANDA LAMBERT, COUNTRY MUSIC STAR: I'm going to stop right here for a sec, Danny. I'm sorry. You girls are worried about your selfie and not listening to the songs, pissing me off a little bit. Shall we start again?


WALLACE: While many fans cheered and supported Lambert in the moment, others went on social media calling the singer disrespectful. Well, that got us thinking about our conversation with Miranda in May, when she revealed that her personality, including those spitfire moments, is symbolized by a tattoo on her arm.


WALLACE: Tattoos. You have a bunch of them.

LAMBERT: I do. Tattoos! I like that. We're not showing right now.

WALLACE: Well, I was gonna -- if you were wearing a short-sleeved shirt, I was gonna talk about --

LAMBERT: Yeah, I've got some.

WALLACE: Alright, well listen --

LAMBERT: I've got pistols and wings, and I've got a wild card up my sleeve on this side.

WALLACE: Okay, well this is the one with handguns and angel wings, correct?


WALLACE: What do you say in them?

LAMBERT: I got that when I was really young, actually, 22.

WALLACE: You can see yourself on the screen.

LAMBERT: Yeah, there it is. I mean, um, and I felt like I wanted something as a reminder to be strong but be sweet. I needed a logo that represented my personality. And so, we started using that when I was about 17, 18.

WALLACE: So, wait a minute, Miranda. I understand the angel wings. What are the two handguns?

LAMBERT: You know what? I'm a little pistol. It's just what it is. And, you know, I grew up around -- I grew up around guns. My dad was a police officer, so I learned gun safety at a very early age and I'm very comfortable around them. But I felt like at the time that represented my personality, like a little bit of pistol and a little bit sweet. And this was a reminder to keep working and keep those two things as part of my personality, you know. And this is my guitar hand where every time I strum, I can see that. So, it's always a reminder to like, keep kicking ass.


WALLACE: Thank you for watching. You can catch my full interviews with Miranda Lambert, as well as Matt Damon and Laura Linney anytime you want on Max. And please join us here on CNN next Friday night to find out who's talking next.