Laura Dern Explains Why She ‘Never Thought About’ Changing Her Last Name to Avoid Nepotism Claims

UnWrapped podcast: “I feel incredible pride about being the daughter of my parents,” Dern tells TheWrap

Some people may find it hard to work alongside their parents, but actress and producer Laura Dern sure doesn’t. In fact, according to the actress, it was a “dream beyond compare” to finally share a scene with her father Bruce Dern.

In “Palm Royale,” now streaming on Apple TV+, Dern and her dad Bruce play on-screen daughter and father Linda Shaw and Skeet Rollins. And, appearing in the newest episode of the “UnWrapped” podcast with her producing partner Jayme Lemons, Dern admitted there was some “hesitation” to asking him to join the show, but mostly just because she wasn’t sure if he wanted to.

She noted that she didn’t want the “Coming Home” actor to feel “pressured” and “immediately became the protective daughter,” shielding him from the role. Eventually, she gave into her fellow producers’ request and asked her father to take their relationship to the screen — and she’s thrilled she did.

“That was definitely one of the great moments of my life,” she told TheWrap. “Looking in his eyes and being on a set with him.”

Ironically, in the show, Laura Dern’s character feels the societal burden of her family’s last name and decides to change it. But in reality, the “Big Little Lies” star said she wears the “Dern” name proudly, and hasn’t ever considered changing it, even amid years of “nepo baby” discourse.

“I had a couple of friends who did change their names,” said the actress. “But for me, I just never thought about it. I feel incredible pride about being the daughter of my parents, their work ethic, their commitment to their craft.”

Additional episode highlights…

  • Dern says her friend Taylor Swift is a “real deal filmmaker”
  • Dern and Lemons define what feminism means to them 
  • Dern and Lemons reveal which “Palm Royale” storyline had the crew in tears

About “UnWrapped”

“UnWrapped” is a podcast produced by WrapWomen, dedicated to empowering the next generation of women in media and entertainment. Each episode “unwraps” topics from entertainment news and industry trends to career advice, Hollywood headlines and more. 

Special guests include industry leaders, actors, producers and studio execs. The aim of the series is to connect those looking for knowledge and access to those with the knowledge and access, providing the WrapWomen community with tools to succeed in their personal and professional lives.

You can listen to the full episode TheWrap.comSpotifyApple PodcastsAmazon Music, TheWrap’s YouTube page or wherever you get your podcasts. 


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