Folha De Sao Palo (1997)
Fat Muriel becomes a thin drug addict
January 1997 | Written by Adriane Grau
Since she became famous three years ago, when she won the Golden Globe for her acting in "Muriel's Wedding", fat Toni Collette left Australia to work in USA and in England. During the moving, she had to use a trainer to improve her accent and lose a great deal of weight to play other roles, like in "Emma" and "Cosi". Right now, she is even thinner, because she is preparing herself to play a slim cocaine addict in "Velvet Gold Mine", film in which Tom Hanks appears in the cast. This week, the actress is presenting the film "Clockwatchers", directed by Jill Sprecher, at the Sundance Film Festival. As Iris, she joins other temporary workers who suffer with the prejudice displayed by the office colleagues. Alongside with her pals Margaret (Parker Posey), Paula (Lisa Kudrow) and Jane (Alanna Ubach), she dreams of a stable job, an actress career and even marriage. Toni hosted the Folha's party at the end of a long day of interviews. Even though she was tired, she didn't forget the sweetness which seems to be a common linkage between her and the character who made her famous. But she gets irritated when questioned about her weight loss, which enhances the beautiful lines of her face.

Folha: You are looking very different from Muriel, the character who made you famous. The true Toni is thin as you are now or fat as Muriel?

Toni Collette: I've gained about three tons to play the role of Muriel. I am used to losing and gaining weight to inpersonate different personages. At the moment, I am losing weight to play the role of a thin cocaine addict.

Folha: Do you feel better fat or slim?

Collette: That depends on how me and the director decide to invision the personage.

Folha: But how do you prefer to see yourself?

Collette: Are we here to talk about my weight or about the movie?

Folha: About the change you've been through to make the film, easily seen by the public. So, how do you feel better?

Collette: When I am healthy.

Folha: You've had to use a trainer to change your accent on the film "Emma". Does the australian accent undermine your career?

Collette: To tell the truth, in "Muriel's Wedding" I've forged an accent I really don't have. I guess I am chosen for my papers because of my talent at large. Changing the accent, the voice's tone, the weight and everything else is part of the profession.

Folha: How do you prepare yourself to impersonate your personages?

Collette: Changing myself and accepting them at my body. I begin to think like them, to make them real.

Folha: Before becoming an actress, have you ever had a temporary job like Iris in "Clockwatchers"?

Collette: No. I was lucky and I've been no other thing than actress since I stopped studying at age 16.

Folha: Where do you live now?

Collette: I live where I work. Most part of time in London.

Folha: What attracted you to work in "Clockwatchers"?

Collette: The brightness of the script. It is absolutely beautiful and subtle. The internal changes for which Iris go through are very funny and at the same time tragically sad.

Folha: There is a rebirth of the australian cinema nowadays. How do you see it?

Collette: It is wonderful, because I feel there are more directors to work with.

Folha: "Shine" is the film which highlights the australian cinema today. Have you watched this?

Collette: Yes, I've watched it and loved it. There aren't many films which capture me emotionally. I cried convulsively. As Geoffrey Rush is my personal friend, it had been an even more intense experience.

Folha: Rush must become known for the role that made him win this year's Golden Globe, in the same way it happened to you after receiving the same prize. How do you cope with the fame of Muriel today?

Collette: It is unavoidable that people see me as her. But Muriel changed my life and opened many doors. I guess it is just part of the success.

© 1996 Empresa Folha da Manhã