Posted on November 17th, 2019 by Frederik

It’s a crisp, sunny autumn morning in Los Angeles, and Toni Collette is sitting in a dark corner of the Sunset Tower Hotel cafe, fretting over her croaky voice and fussing over a pot of camomile tea with lemon. She’s caught a cold on her whirlwind trip from Sydney to attend the Toronto Film Festival premiere of her new film, Knives Out, and she’s determined to recover in time for tonight’s 25th anniversary screening of Muriel’s Wedding, hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “It’s been a packed trip,” Toni acknowledges between sips. “I started in Sydney a week ago, flew to LA for a day to try and get over the jet lag and then I went to Toronto. After that, I flew to New York to do two days of press for [Netflix miniseries] Unbelievable, then had a day off to have a foot massage and do a bit of shopping before catching a cold and flying to LA. And now I’m here!” Cold or no cold, the 47-year-old Sydney native can’t be restrained from talking passionately about both Knives Out and the P.J. Hogan-directed Muriel’s Wedding. “If I’d known 25 years ago that the Academy – the most well-known organisation celebrating film and film achievement in the world – was going to screen Muriel’s Wedding and have a party celebrating it, well, that’s just amazing to me,” she says. “People often think famous people have been that way forever, but no, the contrast is huge and I’m still so grateful for Muriel’s Wedding. It gave me a life I could never have dreamed of.” At another anniversary screening in New York earlier this year, Toni says she watched the movie for the first time since its release and sobbed unabashedly from beginning to end. “It was incredibly overwhelming and joyous and I had the sense of something coming full circle,” she says, still sounding emotional. The former NIDA student was virtually unknown outside of the Sydney theatre scene when she shot to international fame at age 22 as an overweight, Abba-loving misfit who gets her revenge in the 1994 classic, also starring Rachel Griffiths. It was the beginning of a career full of physical and psychological transformations that constantly surprised audiences, who found it hard to believe she was the same actress. The complete article can be read over at The Sydney Morning Herald. This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale November 17.