Who doesn’t love Laura Dern?
Most everyone at the 12th annual MoMA Film Benefit appeared to show nothing but fandom for the screen icon, who was honored for her contributions to film at the museum’s first event after closing down for nearly a year to undergo a $450 million renovation.
Before heading inside the event presented by Chanel (which will also pledge to support the MoMA Film Program next year in its safeguarding of historically significant films), a group of of Dern’s collaborators sang her praises, particularly in regards to the performer’s sense of humor off-screen.
Gwendoline Christie, who starred with Dern in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, said that people might not realize “quite how funny she is” and that “Laura has this really ebullient, acerbic sense of humor that she explores in her films, but she has plenty of it in real life, too.”
Brooke Shields echoed the sentiment, revealing that Dern has a knack for impressions. “She does really good imitations of people. I won’t tell you which ones because then you’ll ask her on the red carpet and I’d put her on the spot, and I wouldn’t do that,” she said. “We used to sit around having cocktails and food with Zappa, just laughing and bantering. Her impressions were really funny.”
Naomi Watts complimented Dern for her portrayal of the ruthless Renata Klein on Big Little Lies. “I felt like I was cheering out loud with her as a character, particularly toward the end of the episode where she was smashing that TV. I was yelling!” Watts said. “She’s a badass.”
When Dern arrived, the conversation turned again to Big Little Lies (and how could it not, when she admitted that her outfit did have a hint of Renata in the gold boots she paired with her Chanel dress). The actress said that if she had to live in one of her character’s wardrobes, she would indeed pick Renata Klein’s, who has a bit of a Gucci addiction—albeit with an amendment.
“Let’s put it this way, Renata would be the closest, because she has amazing taste in designers,” she said with a laugh. “I love her taste in designers, but I probably wouldn’t be choosing the same pieces from the collections.”
As for another less glam but just as iconic television character Dern has played, she also spoke kindly of Enlightened‘s Amy Jellicoe. “I mean, listen, much of what Amy Jellicoe was wearing was probably from my closet, so she’s near and dear to my heart.”
At the end of the night, it was Watts who delivered a succinct message that encompasses what everyone in the room was thinking: “I fucking love you, Laura fucking Dern.”