Here’s an article from the Sydney Morning Herald published last month for the Australian release of “A Long Way Down”. Toni Collette has never been afraid to transform herself for a role – she was launched onto the world stage, after all, as a chunky version of herself in Muriel’s Wedding – but as Maureen in A Long Way Down, which screens as part of the British Film Festival now touring the country, she seems almost to have shrunk inside her frumpy cardigan. The film was launched at the Berlin Film Festival, which is where we speak. The day after it debuts Collette is back up on the screen again in another film, the small American independent Lucky Them, playing a hipster rock journalist. In real life, she thrives on living out of a suitcase and is a big believer in embracing change. “If you try to put the brake on,” she says, “it’s all going to go to shit.” A somewhat less bumpy version of this message pervades A Long Way Down, which is adapted from Nick Hornby’s novel about four very disparate people who meet on a London rooftop one New Year’s Eve. They have all come to commit suicide. Each has his or her reason, but Maureen’s is the most poignant: she has a severely disabled son who would get much better care, she believes, if she were not there to look after him. Maureen is also isolated, friendless, overworked and terribly tired, a situation that starts to ease a little when the four would-be suicides form an unlikely gang. The full article can be read here.
Three Irish films and co-productions – “Glassland”, “Strangerland” and “The Visit” – have all been selected for official competition at the Sundance Film Festival, one of the world’s leading festivals for independent film. Both “Glassland” and “Strangerland” will screen in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition section which only selects 12 films from thousands of entries. “Glassland” is written and directed by Gerard Barrett and tells the story of a young taxi driver on the fringes of the criminal underworld who, in a desperate bid to save his mother from addiction and unite his broken family, is forced to take a job which will see him pushed further into its underbelly. The film is Barrett’s follow-up to his award winning debut film “Pilgrim Hill” and stars Jack Reynor, Toni Collette and Will Poulter. “Glassland”, the joint winner of the Best Film Award at the 2014 Galway Film Fleadh, was produced by Element Pictures (‘Frank’, ‘What Richard Did’) and was filmed on location in Dublin.
Director Gerard Barrett said: ‘It’s such an honour and privilege to take this film to Sundance. To be in competition at Sundance, really is something special.’ Producer of ‘Glassland’ Ed Guiney added that he is ‘delighted to be bringing ‘Glassland’ to Sundance. I can’t think of a better place to launch Gerard’s brilliant film to the world’.
Toni Collette and Concern Worldwide US are part of Crowdrise’s Giving Tower, asking for a donation to help and support children in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Toni has posted a message on their site.
As the Global Ambassador of Concern Worldwide, I am hoping you will join our campaign to keep kids learning in the Ebola zone. As a mother of two, I know all parents want the best for their children, which includes an education. For three million children in Sierra Leone and Liberia, the Ebola outbreak has put their education, and their futures, on hold. Together we can change that.
The full message by Toni, and the chance to donate, can be found over at Crowdrise’s official website.
Gotham Magazine has an article written by Toni Collette on her support of Concern Worldwide: In 2012, Concern Worldwide asked me to do a PSA. The group focuses on reducing poverty in the world’s poorest countries as well as those impacted by natural disasters and war. (As I write this, the group is in Syria, Somalia, and South Sudan.) I’d recently had my second child, and the message about nutrition for children really got to me. Having kids puts things in perspective. You start to prioritize and realize that we are all connected. The more research I did on Concern—the lives it has made better and the people it has empowered—the more I wanted to know. I was intrigued, and I agreed. Just before the holidays that year I did another PSA for Concern, urging people to honor friends and family by buying “gifts”—a chicken, a goat, a water pump—for people who don’t have basic essentials. Last January, the organization offered me the role of Global Ambassador. I balked at first, since it’s a huge responsibility and I was busy preparing for the Broadway production of Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses. But from my research and experience, I knew how effective Concern was at implementing real and lasting change. It has what one of the founders of Concern calls “a fire in [its] belly” to make a difference—I said yes. I wanted to bring as much attention to the organization and its work as possible. The complete article can be read here.
The National Film and Sound Archive will celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Muriel’s Wedding” this December. There will be an exhibition of costumes from the film and artefacts from the set, a Vinyl Lounge and a special Q&A with guests, followed by a 35mm screening of the film. To learn more about the NFSA’s special events, visit their official website. On top of the news, a beautiful batch of unseen production photos from the making of the film have been published. Have a look at those stunning pictures in the image library.
It’s very quiet around Toni right now, despite shooting “Unlocked” with Noomi Rapace in London, it’s a very low-profile time. So what better chance to get your collection up to date with some recent and upcoming releases of her productions this year. Already released is “Tammy”, the Melissa McCarthy comedy which has Toni in a cameo (of all the recent projects, this one can be surely skipped!). Then, there’s “The Boxtrolls”, which will be released on January 20, 2015 on various mediums. And on February 09, “Hector and the Search for Happiness” will be released in the United Kingdom (it will be released earlier in Germany, on January 22). Click any of the previews below to be forwarded to Amazon for a pre-order.
Cambridge News has posted an article about Toni Collette’s research for “Miss You Already” and the support she has received from the Cambridge University Hospitals: It is not every day that people get up and go to work and give advice to a Hollywood movie star. But two specialist nurses and a consultant from Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) got to do just that. Neuro-oncology specialist nurse Ingela Oberg, breast cancer specialist nurse Alison Hallett and cancer consultant Dr Richard Baird provided on-set clinical consultancy to Hollywood actress Toni Collette, during the filming of new comedy drama, Miss You Already. The film follows Milly and her best friend Jess, played by Drew Barrimore, who are lifelong friends who struggle to maintain their relationship when they are both hit by heartache. Town planner Jess lives a happy bohemian life with her partner Jago – played by Paddy Considine – until she struggles to conceive the baby she has always longed for. The trio gave guidance to Collette, whose plays character Milly, a high-flyer with two children and a husband Kit – played by Dominc Cooper – whose life is upturned when she develops a brain tumour following the spread of breast cancer. “Toni and the production team were very keen to portray what it’s like living with a brain tumour, as accurately as possible,” said Ingela. “They approached me and asked if I could guide Toni on how her character’s behaviour might change, and the kind of challenges she should expect to face with an illness like brain cancer.” The complete article can be read over at Cambridge News.