Laura Dern loved role as Harris in HBO's "Recount"

Thu May 22, 2008 4:21pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In November 2000, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris was the most hated woman in America by many Democrats, which is why self-described liberal Laura Dern loved portraying her in the new HBO movie, "Recount."

The film, which airs on the U.S. cable television network starting on Sunday, takes audiences back to the disputed 2000 presidential election that sent George W. Bush to the White House.

Confusion over "hanging chads" and butterfly ballots led Democratic nominee, then Vice President Al Gore, to challenge the election outcome and call for recounts in Florida, which Harris, a Republican with aspirations for higher office, eventually ordered halted.

Throughout the TV movie, writer Danny Strong characterizes Harris as clueless about the workings of her office but shrewd about decision-making that would favor Republicans. Harris' dual nature, Dern said, is why she loved the role.

"That's what made it even more fun to be honest, to get inside the head of that sort of person, to examine her look and be like her -- all those challenges make it more fun," Dern told Reuters in a recent interview.

"I've never had so much fun in my life," she added.

Dern, 41, has enjoyed many roles over a long career. The daughter of actor Bruce Dern and actress Diane Ladd, Dern began performing small parts as a child and came into her own in her late teens and early 20s in several of director David Lynch's films, including "Blue Velvet" and "Wild at Heart."

In the 1990s, she landed in big Hollywood flicks such as Steven Spielberg's dinosaur thriller "Jurassic Park," but never strayed too far from smaller, independent movies such as "Citizen Ruth," which dealt with the politics of abortion.


<p>Laura Dern arrives for the premiere of "Recount" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, May 13, 2008. REUTERS/Joshua Lott</p>