Laura Dern’s Marriage Story Performance Is Based On This Iconic Hollywood Lawyer

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Laura Dern is having an excellent award season, and celebrity divorce attorney Laura Wasser may be to thank. It's all but confirmed that Dern's character in Marriage Story, Nora Fanshaw, which earned her BAFTA, SAG, and Oscars nods, is based on the attorney who represented Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears, and Jennifer Jason Leigh in her divorce from the Netflix film's writer and director, Noah Baumbach. The speculation is so rampant that Wasser herself addressed it in an interview with Vulture, and makes it clear that while there are certainly differences between herself and Dern's portrayal, there are some coincidences that are too crazy to ignore.
Like the fact that Baumbach filmed those scenes in Wasser's own office, and that Baumbach told Wasser there were things she'd "find familiar" in the movie. Dern also reportedly met with Wasser while doing research for the character. And there's the fact that everyone just thinks it's her, anyways.
"I don’t know," Wasser said when asked by Vulture about the possible similarities. "It’s very hard to see oneself that way, but because of the amount of people that have called and texted me about it, I can’t completely ignore that that may be the case."
It's high praise given people can't stop quoting on of Dern's more memorable monologues in the film:
Wasser's reputation comes from her no-nonsense, confident approach to handling celebrity divorces — people she previously told Refinery29 she has no trouble saying "no" to.
"I am in for 6 to 12 to 18 months, I get paid by the hour, then I'm out," she explained. "I'm not with them anymore. I hope their careers go well. I wish them well, but it doesn't matter to me one way or another."
And while she can't wholeheartedly say that Dern is channelling her in Marriage Story, she can confidently declare that Dern is great.
"I love her as an actor, and I love her as a person," she said."I thought she was portraying a satirical family-law attorney. I thought, more than anything else, that she served as a good character in a cautionary tale: If you don’t want to end up like these people, and have somebody like this representing your spouse, you ought to really think carefully about how you embark upon the road to divorce."
But not too carefully, because hey — maybe one day Laura Dern will play you in a movie.
Marriage Story is available on Netflix now

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