Tracy Letts Interview: ‘Lady Bird’ and ‘The Lovers’
“I think this movie really does have some universal truths in it,” divulges Tracy Letts during our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above) about “Lady Bird.” “That moment in life of leaving the nest and going out, essentially ending… your adolescence, and starting out on the journey of adulthood, is something that everybody can identify with.” Written and directed by Greta Gerwig, this A24 release centers on a teenage girl (Saoirse Ronan) during her last year of high school in Sacramento. Letts plays her father Larry, who supports his daughter’s wishes to attend college in New York City, despite her mother’s (Laurie Metcalf) insistence she remain in-state for financial reasons.
Upon first reading the script, Letts reveals “I was struck by what some of the other characters said about him,” particularly his struggles with depression. “I was also struck by this mother-daughter conflict in the house. Larry, for the most part, abdicates. He doesn’t really wade into that argument.” He adds, “He just seemed on the page like a gentle soul, an even hand, which was very important in a volatile household.”
He also had a starring role in Azazel Jacobs‘ “The Lovers” earlier this year. That A24 release centers on a long-married couple (Letts and Debra Winger) who are each engaged in serious love affairs with other people, but suddenly find themselves reigniting their own romance. While “the size of the role is rarely a consideration to me,” the actor was nonetheless excited by the prospect of playing the lead. “I had been doing a lot of work on-camera lately, so the idea that I could take on a bigger part… was a unique challenge for me.”
A multitalented hyphenate, Letts won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony for his play “August: Osage County” (2008) and an acting Tony for his leading performance as George in the Edward Albee domestic drama “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (2013). He competed at the WGA and BFCA for adapting “August” for the screen in 2013 and at SAG as part of the ensemble for “Homeland” in 2014 and 2015. He will next be seen in Steven Spielberg‘s upcoming drama “The Post,” where he stars opposite wife Carrie Coon.