‘Palm Royale’ Showrunner Breaks Down ‘Incredible’ Father-Daughter Scene With Laura and Bruce Dern

Abe Sylvia tells TheWrap how he ensured the audience could feel their connection “beyond the words on the page”

Bruce Dern and Laura Dern in "Palm Royale" (Credit: Apple TV+)

Note: The following story discusses spoilers from “Palm Royale” Episode 6.

After never acting alongside each other — besides a small cameo role in “Nebraska” — Bruce and Laura Dern were brought together as onscreen father and daughter in “Palm Royale.”

“It was the first time they were playing a scene together ever — there was a real reverence on set for that,” showrunner Abe Sylvia told TheWrap of the experience. “There’s such incredible tenderness and connection between them, as one would expect.”

In the sixth episode of “Palm Royale,” which dropped Wednesday on Apple TV+, Linda (Laura) and Skeet (Bruce) spend an emotional afternoon together after being freed from their longstanding secret — a gun linking Linda to Skeet’s nearly fatal shooting, which has been the cause of much of his pain throughout the years. As relief washed over them, Skeet admitted to Linda he’s ready to go, to which Linda responded, “You can, dad, I’m going to be OK.”

The father and daughter spend their final moments together watching the historic Apollo 12 take-off while tripping on LSD, holding hands until Skeet breaths his final breath.

“As we were developing those scenes, I just asked Laura, ‘How do you want it to feel on the day for you and your dad? What are the things that are important to you? What are the things that are important to your father for this scene?’” Sylvia recalled.

The showrunner noted he and the “Palm Royale” team knew how special the scene was and hoped to ensure it was given its moment to shine for both Laura, 57, and Bruce, 87.

“[Laura] said, ‘There’s no greater connection than when my father and I look into one another’s eyes,’ ” Sylvia said. “That’s not something that I can write, so the photography was really important — making sure we had space and air for the audience to feel the connection beyond the words on the page was primary.”

While Bruce and Laura shared their first onscreen collaboration in “Palm Royale,” Laura has acted opposite her mother, Diane Ladd, several times, including in “Wild at Heart,” “Enlightened” and “Rambling Rose,” for which Dern earned an Oscar nomination for best actress. Ladd was also nominated for best supporting actress for the film, marking the first time in Oscars history that mother and daughter were nominated for performances in the same film.

The reverence on set for the father and daughter’s special moment was certainly felt by “Palm Royale” costar Ricky Martin, who told TV critics during the 2024 Television Critics Association winter press tour that he was “sitting there taking notes” during the pair’s scenes.

“Forget about the script, it was about really enjoying what [Bruce] would come up with before the ‘action’ and after the ‘action’ — stories that he would share with us about his experiences throughout history,” Martin said. “That was a gift, and hopefully I will share with my children eventually. That’s the level of generosity that I felt during that.”

The first six episodes of “Palm Royale” are now streaming on Apple TV+. New episodes stream Wednesdays.


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