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Wednesday
Dec052018

Toni Collette is a high-wire artist. Also loves "Roma"

by Nathaniel R

The Film Experience had the pleasure of a lengthy one-on-one chat with the inimitable Toni Collette yesterday after a screening and reception for her new horror classic Hereditary. We'll publish the whole interview in a few days but we thought we'd share a tidbit she thoughtfully e-mailed afterwards. You see during our chat, we had mentioned that they (the proverbial they) always say that actors are an insecure lot but this couldn't possibly be true of her. Wouldn't you have to be supremely confident about your gifts to attack high-wire material like Hereditary or the new miniseries Wanderlust? If you stop to think about it both of those provocative projects, one about multi-generational family trauma and the other about long-term intimacy and sexuality, essentially live or die based on the complexity of the central performance. 

Our conversation took a detour after that so she sent us this note...

Hi N!

Lovely to chat yesterday. I just woke up realising I didn’t really answer your question about confidence. 

Yes, I think, given the clarity of what is required of me when reading a script,  I probably am quietly confident. This along with the fact that I’ve been doing it for so long. Having said that, I don’t ever quite know how exactly I am going to achieve it. And that always scares me a little. That fear is what keeps me going. If a job doesn’t scare me a wee bit I probably need not do it.

It’s like packing a suitcase for a journey. You have an idea of what you need but you don’t know exactly what will happen each day or how  and when you will use the collection of things you’ve brought with you. If you do think you know then you’ve got to loosen your grip. You’ve got to allow life to happen. You can’t force things. But film work does give you the opportunity to try to perfect each moment. As opposed to theatre where the entire show needs to unfold each night. Sometimes i forget that entire takes do not have to be perfect and that the work can be edited. That’s a relief sometimes.

But I think that’s why i enjoy unbroken shots of entire scenes. The actor gets the chance to really shape the performance. It becomes a dance with the camera and the energy of one moment can flow. Roma floored me recently. There are many scenes and shots that are examples of this. It was breathtaking. I think it is my favourite film, not just of this year. 

Well well. So that's one Academy vote for Roma, but can we get a whole slew of them to nominate Collette's haunting tour-de-force breakdown in Hereditary, and their counterparts at the Emmys to honor Wanderlust?

The former Oscar & Tony nominee / Globe & Emmy winner has already been honored as "Best Actress" by the Gotham Awards for her role as the grieving artist and troubled mother in Hereditary. She also won at  the Detroit Film Critics Society and is a nominee at the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Are more deserving awards forthcoming or do we have to make a deal with King Paemon to get them?

If so "Hail, Paemon!"

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Reader Comments (26)

I need Toni Collette to email me life advice daily. Where do I subscribe to this?!

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBushwick

That message is just one more reason to love this woman. I am simply in awe. And so jealous you got to talk to her!

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Bushwick--cosign! lol

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I hope Toni Collette gets a nomination this year. She is amazing.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRafael

Love Toni. She's beyond — the most, to say the least.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Toni Collette is peerless in her versatility and just all around loveable.
That is so cool that she’s such a conscientious interviewee that she followed up with you to perfect her answer to your question.
Thanks for sharing this, Nathaniel; I look forward to the full interview!

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRyan Crowe

One of her more underrated gifts is how well she works with young actors. I think of her equalizing but maternal connection with Abigail Breslin and Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine), Alex Wolff (Hereditary), Brie Larson and Keir Gilchrist (United States of Tara), Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense), etc. Amazing.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

She is the BEST.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Love this!

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

How Nice,see some Movie Stars are normal folk,I am near locked on her nomination Paemon demands it.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Is the Kylie style hair she is giving us for the film Knives Out,Did you ask her about JLC?

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

I love her even more now.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

I'm quietly confident she might get that 5th slot, joining Gaga, Close, Colman & McCarthy.

A key critics' award or two would be nice because I doubt the Globes will nominate her. Hopefully SAG will (the early release helps in this case).

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G

Toni's filmography is marvelous—full of depth, risk and fun. She's been able to do so many different things through the years! I had a Toni Collette and the Finish phase in high school.

To boot she seems like a lovely, positive person. That photo of you two is fab.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHayden

I love her. And yes, she is STELLAR in Hereditary, such an extraordinary performance

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterFerdi

SHE IS AMAZING! So worthy of a nomination this year. Toni Collette is one of the best we have in this industry working today. It's insane that she's only been nominated once and that was 20 years ago.

I

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterlee willis

I know it's beyond the point since we're discussing her talents but I really need to say how she gets finer with age. Had a thing for her in United States of Tara (which I'll remind you once again is one of the most painful TV cancelations in my life, LOL) and once again in Wanderlust. Back to her latest career choices: she is beyond amazing in Hereditary (also FYC: Alex Wolff) and with every new role she just keeps cementing her status as the best Australian actress.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMe34

THAT HAIR THO

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

I think she's in a good spot right now for a nod. I don't want to jinx it, but she definitely still has some steam. I think the Globes and/or SAG will nominate, but if neither do, then I'd say that's when I'll lose hope. But until that happens, I'll be ringing the Toni Collette bell.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Love this woman a lot.

Can she someday do a musical to showcase those wonderful pipes?

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

WOW. Further proof that she is the absolute best.

I really hope that she is able to ride the wave of critical acclaim for her Hereditary performance all the way to the Oscars - it's certainly the finest work of the year.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDancin' Dan

I hope she gets the 5th nod too!! joining Blunt, Close, Colman & Gaga...At this juncture, she seems to be ahead of McCarthy.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

You two look fab. You are now officially banned from your false modesty, influence underplaying young man!

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHarold

She is a formidable talent. Muriel's Wedding, Japanese Story, now Hereditary would be my Top 3 of her work. I'll always remember her one scene wonder in The Hours.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEoghan McQ

How absolutely WONDERFUL of her ! You are blessed Nathan

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMartin

Screenshot that letter, post it on twitter and let the world love her just a little bit more!

December 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSanty C.

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