LOS ANGELES – There is no “how-to” class for Oscar nominees, “Lady Bird’s” Laurie Metcalf says.
“There’s a media train attached to it that I was not aware of,” the Best Supporting Actress nominee says. “It goes very fast and I have a big learning curve.”
Since the coming-of-age drama was released at the end of the year, Metcalf has been thrust into plenty of awards shows, celebratory luncheons and, yes, interviews.
Considered a frontrunner for playing Saoirse Ronan’s no-nonsense mother, Metcalf never really thought of life in the fast lane. “I haven’t done a movie in a long time and I just thought this was going to be a nice little independent film.”
Instead, “Lady Bird” has become an audience favorite – a contender for Best Picture and a calling card for Metcalf, best known for her Emmy-winning work on “Roseanne.”
Indeed, Metcalf spent the better part of 2017 concentrating on returning to the hit sitcom. Thanks to co-star Sara Gilbert, “Roseanne” will return to ABC in March, complete with original cast. Metcalf and company filmed nine episodes. Now, she’s in rehearsals for “Three Tall Women,” a Broadway revival co-starring two-time Oscar winner Glenda Jackson.
Last June, Metcalf won the Tony Award for her starring role in “A Doll’s House Part 2” and jumped on that “Lady Bird” express.
For the Golden Globes, she took daughter Zoe Perry, who stars in “Young Sheldon” as the budding genuis’ mother. Oddly, Metcalf created the role for “The Big Bang Theory.” Perry plays a younger version in the prequel and, yes, she did study mom’s handful of guest appearances.
“Isn’t that surreal?” Metcalf says with a smile. “We’re playing the same character, decades apart on concurrently running shows. I don’t know if that has ever happened. That deserves some sort of plaque, don’t you think?”
Metcalf says the key to both performances is the accent. “She tried to get that down and we naturally behave a lot alike and our voices are alike.”
At the Golden Globes, Perry says, they both marveled at the company they were in. “It was great fun.”
Mom, though, is a bit more realistic. “I understand theater better. It’s where I got my start and where I feel the most comfortable. I don’t like having a camera around.”
When the Oscar buzz started, the 62-year-old says, she couldn’t ignore it. “A lot of sites post odds and predict who’s going to win. It becomes inevitable – you can’t not see it anymore.”
Winning an Oscar was never the reason she got into acting. “If it happens, it happens.”
Instead, Metcalf is eager to see how viewers react to the rebooted “Roseanne.” Things have changed. Things have stayed the same.
Jackie, she says, is now a life coach and more than willing to square off with Roseanne.
“I thought she’d either be the same hot mess she always was, bouncing between jobs and relationships. Or, she’d be the one character who got her act together and was fully responsible and financially set. Either way would have been interesting to me.”
While the last episode of “Roseanne 1” (as she now calls the first run) aired in 1997, it didn’t take Metcalf long to get back into character. “I found her at the table read,” she says.
Now, in “Roseanne 2,” she’s eager to explore new issues and see where an older version might head.
Films are still an enigma.
“Ask me how many offers I’ve gotten since ‘Lady Bird,’” she says. “Zero. Actually, I don’t know what goes through my agents’ office. But nothing concrete has come my way.”
A problem? Not in the least. Dabbling in this moment of Oscar glory is fine. “It’s a whole different animal and a wonderful tribute.
“Getting the word out about the movie is what’s most important,” she says. “I’ve gotten attached to (‘Lady Bird’) and I enjoy promoting it.”
Meanwhile, there are lines to be memorized.
“Three Tall Women” begins performances Feb. 27, four days before the Oscars.