March 28th, 2011       Posted by Frederik       Display Comments

Promotion for the third season of “United States of Tara”, which premieres tonight on Showtime, has been quiet – probably due to Toni Collette’s pregnancy. However, USA Today has put together a nice piece on the show including an interview with Toni: It’s one thing to nail an American accent as an Australian. It’s another to master seven of them. And it’s yet something else to do so from more than 7,000 miles away, as Sydney native Toni Collette has done in her role as Tara Gregson, the Kansas housewife and mother with dissociative identity disorder at the heart of Showtime’s United States of Tara. The series returns for a third season Monday night (10:30 ET/PT). No matter that Collette lives Down Under. On Tara, she talks as though she lives down South (as beer-swilling, motorcycle-cruising, Y-chromosome-owning Buck), downtown (as Noo Yawk feminist therapist Shoshana Schoenbaum) and down in some Midwestern basement (as gum-snapping, ponytailed, teenage T). And those are only three of Tara’s alter egos. Collette, 38, has never worked with a dialect coach on the show. She credits her uncanny — and Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning — ability to inhabit thoroughly Yankee characters so convincingly to “a misspent youth watching too much American television.” But her talent for drawling twangs and nasally honks aside, “I’m attracted to roles that have a sense of truth to them and a sense of universality to the story,” regardless of geography and demography, Collette says.

“When they’re really well-written, (the whole character) becomes clear, not only how a person sounds.” As Tara heads back to college this season to finish her degree, Collette is adding another character to her Tara repertoire, “a quite menacing and evil” personality who emerges after a professor (Eddie Izzard) pressures Tara to better herself, “and she can’t handle that.” “The closer she gets to healing or resolving certain issues, a part of her feels threatened, which is why an alter is born,” Collette says. One thing that won’t be birthed on the screen this season: Collette’s imminent new baby. (Her pregnancy wasn’t written into the show.) But as with many second pregnancies, Collette started showing sooner, which complicated matters (as did the added exhaustion).

“It’s true what they say: Your body has a memory,” she says. Hers “knew what to do and kind of sprang into action.” So strategically positioned pots, plants and books became bump-concealing props. Not that big sister Sage, 3, was fooled. “She’s very aware. You’d be surprised,” Collette says. “Miraculously,” she says, Sage “kind of knew” before she told her. “I was sitting in my trailer. I wasn’t showing and I rubbed my belly and she said, ‘Mommy, do you have baby in your belly?’ ” Collette has no interest in finding out the sex of the baby (Australians generally tend to wait “until the little person emerges,” she says). “I found it interesting. In L.A. (where Tara is shot), people would ask, ‘What’s the sex? What’s the sex?’ as though it was just a given I would find out.”

Collette was born and raised in the Australian capital before spending most of her 20s “living out of a suitcase” for work. And though she has “great friends” in Los Angeles now, Sydney is “just a natural place for me to be, a complete delight,” she says. Her typical activities? Swimming and mango-eating. “I feel most comfortable at home.” As for her Kansas creation, Tara, a mom of two teenagers, is “a good parent,” Collette says. “She’s certainly a flawed human being, but she tries her darnedest and loves her kids more than anything, and I think I’m the same. I think that’s the biggest goal as a parent: to love and be able to show that love and support as much as possible.”




  • shirly

    Dearest Toni, she’s such an inspiration.
    Can’t wait for the third season to get to Israel.
    Just love what she’s doing there and in all of her movies. been watching over and over at her work trying to catch just a bit of the talent that this amazing actress has.