Why Dern loves her nightmarish character
In a community full of flawed characters, it's quite a feat to be one of the least likeable - but that's how Laura Dern likes it.
The offspring of Hollywood royalty, Dern is shining in the A-list of the moment alongside Kidman, Witherspoon and Streep in Big Little Lies.
She plays the hard-edge and initially unsympathetic Renata, a powerhouse CEO who is clueless when it comes to parenting.
And Dern really rates her - not surprising as the role has won her an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
"I have to say, I've never felt such loyalty to a character the way I feel about Renata Klein. I've really grown to love her," Dern told Vogue Australia.
"She's very honest which is why she's a nightmare to deal with and why she's fantastic at the same time because she says everything she feels."
Season Two, now screening exclusively on Foxtel, sees Renata thrust from her Season One outsider position into a clique dealing with one big secret - and a host of lesser ones.
"It's interesting to investigate the consequence of not being honest," Dern said.
Renata is the latest in a line of highly strung characters for Dern, who sees a purpose in her portrayals.
"I've played different kinds of women who are perceived as a certain thing, but ultimately, they're women who haven't found the value in themselves. I like hoping that I'm someone who comes along to help them find it somehow," Dern said.
Off-screen, she is a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement and has previously revealed that she was sexually assaulted as a young teenager.
She views the movement as already having made great strides for women and draws parallels to Big Little Lies.
"I think Big Little Lies is such a parallel because it deals with abuse and domestic violence and within that theme, it's talking about the fact that when you create a tribe, nothing can break it, as long as you all stick together," she said.
Dern, the daughter of actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd, began acting aged six, alongside her mother, in White Lightning - the first of several films together.
Yet when Dern's own children were born, she took a break from stardom to be a mum. Now she's back in front of the camera, she is still very keen to maintain elements of "normal" life.
"I would say all roads lead back to my mother and grandmother, who have no patience for creating a life of celebrity. Nor did my dad," she told Vogue.
"In terms of daily life, there is definitely a way to try to keep it as normal as possible within a completely abnormal circumstance. I've proven that."
Full interview in Vogue Australia's July issue, on sale now.
See Renata and the gang back in action today on Foxel at 11am AEST and again at 8:30pm.