SPOILER ALERT: The following story contains details about a major storyline on season three of “Ozark.”
Laura Linney admits she wouldn’t really want to be friends with her “Ozark” alter-ego Wendy Byrde.
“Do I like representing Wendy? Do I like portraying Wendy? Absolutely,” Linney, who has earned an Emmy nomination for her work on the Netflix drama, says on today’s episode of the Variety and iHeart podcast “The Big Ticket.” “I love this part. I love this job. I love the people I work with. It’s an exceptional experience. But would I want to know her? Absolutely not.”
In season three, which premiered in March, Wendy had her own brother, who suffers from mental illness, killed. “It’s a whole other level of intensity,” Linney says. “There’s no question.”
Fortunately, Linney doesn’t find herself taking her work home with her. “We’re all having such a good time,” she said. “If we were having a terrible time, if we didn’t like each other, if the conditions were bad, if we weren’t treated well by our studio or our network or our producers, if we hated the writing, it would stick to you. But because it is such a wonderful group and such a skilled group of people who are proud of each other, and proud of what we’re doing, and proud to be doing it together, it’s really nice.”
Linney’s co-star Jason Bateman has directed eight episodes of “Ozark,” but it’s not something she’s ready to do anytime soon. “Never say never,” she said. “But I sort of love what I do, and I am just happy doing that. It’s nothing that I’ve really wanted to pursue.”
As for Bateman’s work behind the camera, Linney said, “He’s a director who has complete understanding of what it is to be on a set. He has decades of experience of being on set, so he understands the relationship between an actor, the material, the crew, the work, the technical versus the creative. He has the balance of all of it. He holds that balance really well and effortlessly.”
A Broadway veteran with four Tony nominations under her belt, Linney also talked about the future of New York’s theater community. In the past few months, stages have gone dark in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s just in human nature for theater to exist, but it’s going to be hard, and it’s going to take a long time,” Linney said. “But it will be a tremendous relief when that part of this process starts to take care of itself. When they made the announcement that Broadway would be shut down, that’s when the gravity of this whole situation really hit home for any of us involved in the theater. I mean, for them to do that, we knew this was monumental, that we are facing a monumental challenge.”