Acting is a craft honed with many years of practice and a large degree of talent. But talent alone may not be enough if the actors have to work with other performers with whom they just do not have chemistry. One of the greatest challenges in casting a series is picking people who have the right fit with one another, who can make it seem like their relationships go back way further than the show's timeline.
Hollywood seems to have a new solution to that problem. Why fake a relationship, when you can use one that already exists?
In HBO's Enlightened, which just began its second season, the main character of Amy is played by Laura Dern. Amy's mother is played by Diane Ladd. What may not be obvious to those who haven't bothered googling the two women is that Ladd is Dern's actual mother. They don't look a lot alike, but considering that Ladd is the person who raised Dern, it's no surprise that they can pull off a great dynamic on screen.
Their characters are antagonistic towards each other in the series, and this isn't too far-fetched to believe. Dern once sued her mother for emancipation so that she could do a movie to which her mother objected. Clearly, the two have a rocky back story, and have some real life material to draw upon for their mother-daughter roles, and this isn't the first time they've played opposite one another.
Maybe they've worked past those differences; everyone grows up. Everyone spats with their parents; not everyone sues for emancipation, but not knowing the family, I couldn't say what what motivate such an action, or how it was received. Those of us on the outside can only guess at Dern and Ladd's actual relationship.