The Tragic Thing Laura Dern Had In Common With Carrie Fisher

At first blush, Laura Dern and Carrie Fisher don’t have a lot in common. Fisher was a loud, sometimes abrasive, but always hilarious comedian. She brought humor even to the serious role of Leia Organa, the princess turned rebel turned general of Star Wars fame. 

Dern is more serious, but she has range. Although she’s not usually seen as a funny person, comedy is in her repertoire. She’s been in all kinds of projects, including a Star Wars movie alongside Fisher

When you scratch the surface, these two ladies actually have a lot in common. Both women grew up in famous families. Dern learned to act alongside her mother, Diane Ladd. Fisher’s mother was Debbie Reynolds, of Singing in the Rain, among many, many others. Both of these women had famous, less involved fathers as well.

Both used humor to survive Hollywood 

Laura Dern on the red carpet
Laura Dern | Amy Sussman/FilmMagic

Bringing humor to uncomfortable situations is what Fisher is most well known for, besides her role as Leia. She wrote multiple books that used comedy to explore the ugliest parts of Hollywood, including sexual harassment.

Her books also explored the darker side of Fisher. She struggled with addiction and mental health issues throughout her life. Her books told the story of Fisher’s troubles, but with a punchline at the end of every tale. 

Fisher is famous for using humor as a coping mechanism. Dern doesn’t necessarily have the same reputation, but she does the same thing.

In fact, being able to bring humor and humanity to the ugliest parts of the human experience is what Dern loves most about being an actress. She enjoys finding “humor in broken places,” and sees comedy as humanity’s great equalizer.

Dern says Fisher is an ‘icon’

These two women got the chance to meet before Fisher died tragically in 2016. Dern was lucky enough to work alongside Fisher on Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Fisher reprised her role as Leia Organa, and Dern plays Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, a fellow female rebel leader.  

Dern was lucky she got the opportunity to star alongside Fisher, considering Fisher passed away about a year before the movie was released. Her mother, Debbie Reynolds, died just a one day later. 

The character Dern played had a complicated relationship with Leia. The two characters were lifelong friends, and had a history that occurred off screen, before the events of The Last Jedi. 

That unseen history allowed Dern to show off her serious acting talent, and gave her an opportunity to get close to Fisher. 

Of working with Fisher, Dern has said: “She has always been one of the most extraordinary beacons, an original screen icon.”

At the time, Dern described working on the Star Wars film as the “greatest experience” of her life. 

Would she say the same now? 

In 2016, Dern thought that working on Star Wars was the best experience of her life, but would she say the same today? She’s worked on a few projects since then, and her most recent film put her next to another female icon. Dern was cast in the new Little Women movie alongside Meryl Streep

In a recent New York Times interview Dern named Streep as one of the actresses she most admires, along with Dern’s own mother and a few others. We don’t know if working with her idol eclipsed the experience of working with the late, great Fisher.

We do know that on the set of Little Women, Dern has finally found her “tribe.” It’s something Dern had been searching for, and now she finally feels she has a group of supportive women around her.