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WOrking on set: HBO’s i know this much is true

Written and Directed by Derek Cianfrance
Starring Mark Ruffalo
Estimated release in Spring 2020

Laura Esterman shares her experience on set:

“There were two scenes with just me and Mark Ruffalo, and we worked on each of them for a full day, reshooting in a very unstructured, improvisational way.

Although it was a big budget production, the director shot in a very immediate and almost low budget style. He allowed us to do very long takes. We didn’t have to worry about lighting or close-ups. He would whisper in our ears ways to surprise the other actor. He allowed us to completely change our approach to the scene, he even said ‘I want you to make mistakes,’ so that we could be very loose and re-experience how to do the scene. We did this over and over again until we were completely relaxed and comfortable.

With this, over the course of the two-day shoot, I got to know the character really well because we tried so many different angles and approaches to the scenes. We had all the freedom we wanted, and it was one of the best experiences I have had in my working career.”


After her studies at the London Academy, Laura worked in regional theater for two years, but recognized that she required additional skills to complement her technical training. She began studying with Uta Hagen, and though she stopped taking classes because she was working, Uta’s teachings had a deep impact on her. With Uta Hagen’s warm blessing, she returned to HB Studio some years later, this time as a teacher.

While primarily a stage actress, Laura’s theater and film experience work in tandem to influence her approach to both acting and teaching. She is pleased to be able to share both her on camera and stage experience with her students. Learn more. 

began teaching at hb Studio

  • 1993


  • HB Studio
  • London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art


  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play, MARVIN’S ROOM (1992)
  • Obie Award for Distinguished Performance by an Actress, MARVIN’S ROOM (1992)
  • Outer Critics Circle for Oustanding Actress in a Play, MARVIN’S ROOM (1992)
  • Best Actress, CAN HITLER HAPPEN HERE?, Chelsea Film Festival (2017)
  • Best Actress, CAN HITLER HAPPEN HERE?, Brooklyn Film Festival (2018)

currently teaches

  • Scene Study – Studio Practice

recent news

  • Recently finished filming in HBO’s upcoming series I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE with Mark Ruffalo

notable credits

Laura recently appeared in David Rabe’s play GOOD FOR OTTO with Ed Harris at the New Group and Ain Gordon’s play 217 BOXES at the Baryshnikov Center. Other recent work includes THE OLD BOY at the Keen Company, INTIMACY at the New Group, THE MORINI STRAD at Portland Stage, and CARD AND GIFT at Clubbed Thumb.

Broadway: THE SHOW-OFF, TEIBELE AND HER DEMON, and THE SUICIDE, among others. Off-Broadway: Mike Leigh’s TWO THOUSAND YEARS (The New Group), the original MARVIN’S ROOM (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Obie awards for Oustanding Actress), CRANES, CURTAINS (Obie winner), THE AMERICAN CLOCK, GOOD AS NEW, TWO ROOMS, EDITH STEIN, TRUE LOVE, and DUET as Sarah Bernhardt and many other roles at Public Theatre, BAM, Manhattan Theatre Club, and the American Place Theatre among others. Regional includes: Arena Stage, Goodman, Mark Taper, and Guthrie.


Faculty News

David Maurice Sharp is the choreographer for SPRING AWAKENING at Drew University, February 19-22, 2020.

Julie McKee‘s two plays will be featured in readings: THE SECRET LIFE OF SEAWEED (Playmarket, New Zealand, Dec 2019; EST Satellite First Light, Jan/Feb 2019) and A HOLIDAY ON ICE IN A WARM CLIMATE (CCTA, 2019; Drama Discourse Society, Auckland, New Zealand, 2019; Theater im Kulturhaus Karistobahnof, Heidelberg, Germany, 2019; Imago Theatre, Montreal, Canada, 2019; Theatre Alliance, Kansas City, 2019; Climate Change Theater Action, Greenfield, Mass, 2019).

Jessica Hecht received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for her role as Karen in Netflix’s SPECIAL, which released on April 12. She will also star as a lead on the upcoming third season of USA Network’s anthology crime thriller series THE SINNER

Frank Wood joins the cast of the world-premiere of THE PERPLEXED at Manhattan Theatre Club beginning February 11, 2020.

Austin Pendleton will star in Tracy Letts’ THE MINUTES on Broadway. Performances begin Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at the Cort Theatre and the official opening is Sunday, March 15, 2020, running a limited engagement through Sunday, June 14, 2020.

David Deblinger will appear in an episode of THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL. The series is currently streaming on Amazon. David Deblinger is also appearing as Sol Fidler in episodes 3 and 7 of GODFATHER OF HARLEM, starring Forest Whitaker on Epix.

Laura Esterman will appear in a new 6-part HBO series, I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE, with Mark Ruffalo. A release date is yet to be announced. 

Russell G. Jones stars as Looper in the forthcoming CBS cop drama pilot TOMMY, opposite Edie Falco, from Paul Attanasio.

Alumni & Student News

Stephan Schmidt performs in WATCHLIST at The TANK, February 11-22, 2020.

Andrew R. Heinze‘s play FAIR USE will have a staged reading as part of Urban Stages’ 10-minute play festival “Tourist Traps,” January 26, 2020. A monologue from Andrew Heinze‘s full-length play GREAT ROLES FOR OLD ACTRESSES has been published in The Best Women’s Monologues from New Plays, 2019 (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books). A different monologue from the same play appears in Best Women’s Monologues of 2019 (Smith & Kraus); both available on Amazon.

Maral Tatar produced, translated and is acting in her first professional production, WILL YOU PLEASE SHUT UP? by Dan O’Brien and directed by her brother Burak Tatar, in Istanbul, January 21-April 29, 2020.

Joan La Barbara performs in Jean-Baptiste Barriere’s multidisciplinary opera THE ART OF CHANGE at Arnheim Hall, The New School, January 16-21, 2020.

Thami Moscovici performs in HELP A HANDICAPPED GOD TROT ACROSS THE UNIVERSE at The 13th Street Repertory Theater, January 16-26, 2020.

Danusia Trevino performs in A PINK CHAIR from the Wooster Group at NYU Skirball Center, January 23-February 2, 2020.

Ellis Vizcarra performs in ARGONAUTS at Theatre at Schapiro, January 31-February 2, 2020.

Lorna Courtney stars as Shark Girl in WEST SIDE STORY at Broadway Theatre, now through September 6, 2020.

John Higgins co-stars in NBC’s medical drama NEW AMSTERDAM, currently airing Season 2.

Justin Linville stars in the independent film THE FRAT HAZE, currently in filming.

Robert Hickey is featured as Mr. Reynolds in the short film MR. REYNOLDS. He was also cast in a supporting role in the indie film ANE’S NIGHT, currently in production.


“Melania Luisa”

“Melania-Luisa Marte is a first generation American. She was born and raised in the Lower East Side of New York City. Her multi-cultured upbringing inspires her to write about navigating the world as a native Spanish speaker of Afro-Dominican descent.”

Watch her poetry slam here.