Toni Collette on "outrageous" The Estate: 'It's so wrong - I love it'
Australian actor Toni Collette is perhaps best known in recent years for her dark roles in Hereditary, Nightmare Alley, and The Staircase. But her upcoming movie The Estate, written and directed by Dean Craig, is something slightly different: a laugh-out-loud comedy. “I thought it was so outrageous, so much of it is so wrong and I love it,” she told RadioTimes.com on her initial reaction to the script. “I laughed my arse off and couldn’t stop, I wanted to do it immediately.” She continued: “I read it in the middle of COVID and it just brought me so much joy. I laughed out loud repeatedly and I thought, ‘I need that,’ and I feel the world might need that, too.”
The Estate features an incredible ensemble cast made up of Anna Faris, David Duchovny, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ron Livingston and the legendary Kathleen Turner – whom Faris described working with as “terrifying and wonderful”. Faris, of Scary Movie and House Bunny fame, added that one of the major draws of working on the movie was the opportunity to work with Collette. The pair play sisters Savanna [Faris] and Macey [Collette], who run a struggling cafe together and are in desperate need of money, and the dynamic is reminiscent of a modern-day Odd Couple – with their polar opposite personalities working very well on screen.
Talking about developing this dynamic, Faris explained: “I just clung onto Toni all the time, I was so thrilled when I got the script and Toni was attached. It has been a lifelong goal to work with her and I just instantly was like a baby koala with her, ‘I don’t want to let you go, ever.'” Collette added: “It was a really short shoot and I don’t know if we magicked it up or it came naturally but we did become a very tight unit very quickly. “I think we both loved the idea that this is a film about a love between sisters and they are just so desperate that they would do absolutely anything and we did kind of cling to each other. They really rely on each other, they are different but they very much need each other and we very much needed each other, too.”
Also starring in the movie is David Duchovny who plays Dick, the sex-crazed cousin of Macey and Savanna. Talking about what it was like to play such a unique character, the former X-Files star revealed: “It was fun from the beginning. When I was sent the script, what I loved about that character was that he had a kind of shamelessness to him, a sincerity in his badness that could almost be charming in some horrifying way, so I embraced that. “Then when I did my wardrobe stuff it all came together. I’ve never been that interested in wardrobe but for some reason, in this case, I was. We pulled some crazy shit together and I pretty much dress like that now.”
Rosemarie DeWitt, who plays Dick’s sister Beatrice, added: “It should be known that you requested to keep your entire wardrobe, which you did, white tank top and all.” The movie centres around a family desperately competing and fighting with each other for an inheritance, but the atmosphere and dynamic onset were described by DeWitt as “completely the opposite” and she credited Duchovny for feeding her lines during her marital fight scenes. “David was like, ‘Do you know what would be real funny?’ And was giving me great improvs to try, and it was generous. ‘Let’s make this the funniest we can,'” she explained. “When you’re working with actors who don’t define themselves as comedians, it’s not a joke-off, it’s a real ensemble effort to make the film funny rather than to get the best jokes in, because sometimes those movies out-joke themselves and this one stayed in the land of rivalry and family.”
From prosthetic penises to kidnapping an OAP and incest jokes, The Estate is a throwback comedy in the vein of Judd Apatow and other early 2000s Talking about a standout moment that encapsulates this, Duchovny said: “One of the funniest things off-set was watching the director look at different fake penises and decide which was the best; not the best penis but the funniest penis.” Collette concluded: “Some of those scenes are so dark and they were so much fun, I don’t know what that says about us that we all really enjoyed it.”
The Estate is exclusively in Sky Cinema from 13th January 2023.