February 25th, 2011       Posted by Frederik       Display Comments

The Australian has recently interviewed Toni Collette in their 10 questions section.

Many scenes from your films are indelible. Your character Lynn in The Sixth Sense bursting into tears in the car as her son (Haley Joel Osment) says he has spoken to her dead mother. Muriel’s Wedding, in which you joyously stride down the aisle with that fantastic Cheshire cat grin on your face. That powerful scene in The Hours, in which Kitty’s bubbly façade momentarily drops away and she falls into the arms of Laura (Julianne Moore). Are scenes like this all about instinct – or burn-the-midnight oil rehearsal? I prefer less rehearsal and more thought before a scene. I’m open to rehearsing if my collaborators are that way inclined. But most people waste the time playing stupid and fruitless games. Literally. I have only worked with a couple of directors who really use the rehearsal period in a beneficial way. Generally, if I am truly meant to play a character I have an instant alignment with the scene and the way it’s to be played as soon as I read it. I can see and feel it as I read it for the first time. It gets me all stirred up and excited. So rehearsing can feel like it gets in the way of an honest moment one might want to save for the camera.

The Academy Awards are on this weekend. Do you enjoy the big award shows like the Oscars and the Emmys? Yes, from home. I always have. But most are too long, wouldn’t you say? They’re also fun in reality but too nerve-wracking to be entirely enjoyable.

You worked with Alan Ball – of American Beauty and now True Blood fame – in the film Towelhead. What was it like working with one of the world’s most innovative film and TV directors? Alan is sweet and focused and clear and clever. He is rather prolific, which really amazes me. I mean, people can produce a lot of work but Alan produces diverse and good work.

What attracted you to do the voice-over for your latest project, The Gradual Demise of Phillipa Finch?I own all of Emma Magenta’s books and am a huge fan of her work. She is an impressive well of creativity and has such an original and honest voice. I like the story of Ms Finch very much. It was a fun and natural collaboration.

Phillipa goes on a journey of self-discovery, like so many of the characters you have played in your films. Is depth of character something you immediately look for in a script?If there is no depth in a project or story it will not really appeal to me. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate light-hearted comedies but they need to have an underlying strain of human truth to really get me in.

George C. Scott once said that the only measurement of fine acting is, Does the audience feel it? It does not matter a damn what the actor does or does not feel – it’s what’s conveyed to the audience. Do you agree with that? Yes, I would agree with that. The actor doesn’t have to feel it for the audience to feel it. But people have great bullshit detectors. I find unless the actor feels it in some way the audience won’t connect as deeply… Catch 22.

You’ve now starred in feature films, a major TV show and a Broadway musical, and have released a CD and toured with your band. What’s left? Directing? Yep. I want to. But there is only so much time in the day. But eventually, yes.

Is it true or an urban myth that you faked appendicitis so convincingly when you were 11 years old that doctors actually removed your appendix?True. Don’t quite understand it. It was 27 years ago. Who knows what was going on in my head? It’s just embarrassing now.

Who were your major influences as a young actor?Jeez, I can’t even remember. Isn’t that terrible? I’ve never really idolised anybody. I loved Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid in my early teens … does that count? Olivia in Grease. Babs in Funny Girl. Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. Acting was more of a way to express myself rather than trying to emulate someone else’s work.

What’s the most stupid question a journalist has ever asked you?Why haven’t I straightened my teeth?




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