×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Playback: Toni Collette on ‘Hereditary’ and Memories of ‘The Sixth Sense’

Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety / iHeartRadio podcast bringing you exclusive conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films.

Actress Toni Collette already left jaws agape at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year with her acclaimed performance in Ari Aster’s directorial debut “Hereditary.” With the film set for release on June 8, more audiences will be invited into the penetrating breed of terror she and Aster conjure. Collette goes to some dark places with her work in the film and, unsurprisingly, it was an emotional roller-coaster getting there.

Listen to this week’s episode of “Playback” below. New episodes air every Thursday.

Click here for more episodes of “Playback.”

“Usually when you start a movie, the first few days, at least, there are lighter scenes with less dialogue, if any dialogue at all,” Collette says. “And I turned up and had to go straight into some of the most intensely emotional stuff I’ve ever had to do with loads of dialogue at crazy hours of the day and night. I think it was just a matter of accepting that this was what it was. I just had to show up and do it. It always helps when the script is brilliant, and it really, really was, but it’s an actor’s job to make something truthful, and as you see it is as I read it. You’re only ever as good as the opportunity you’re given.”

The discussion veers into Collette’s background in the profession and why she does what she does. She hates answering “actor” questions, queries about her process, etc., but it has very personal roots for her.

“To be honest I think it started because I didn’t know how to express myself very well and I felt pretty overwhelmed by my emotions,” she says. “I was a teenager. My grandmother had just died and I did ‘Godspell’ at school, so I got to hang out with the guys in the school next door, I got to sing and I got to emote. It was expected of me. It became an outlet, and I think for a while I kind of used it as such.”

Meanwhile, it’s been nearly 20 years since Collette scored her first (and, to date, only) Oscar nomination, for M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense.” She’ll be due another for her shattering portrayal here, but she also sees interesting parallels between these two filmmakers she collaborated with at similar stages in their careers.

“Not dissimilarly to Ari, he was pretty new at the time,” Collette says of Shyamalan. “They both created a story which is very dramatic and stands as a classic drama on its own, and without simplifying it too much, there’s a bit of a twist. I love that both films take their time rhythmically. They’re very brave filmmakers and I find that so admirable, that they know themselves enough and have strength within. Sometimes people are bullied when they’re at that point in their career. There are certain expectations. You’ve got to tow this line, connect with this audience, that audience, and things become watered down and neutralized and there’s no voice in it. But they maintained their voices. And at the time, in both films, it did feel like there was something special about it.”

For more, including discussion of Collette’s work in films like “Hearts Beat Loud” and the upcoming “Velvet Buzzsaw,” from “Nightcrawler” director Dan Gilroy, listen to the latest episode of “Playback” via the streaming link above.

iHeartRadio
Hear more episodes of “Playback” at iHeartRadio.
Subscribe via iTunes.

Toni Collette photographed exclusively for the Variety Playback Podcast.
Variety

More Film

  • Zac Efron Amanda Seyfried

    Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried Join Animated Scooby-Doo Film as Fred and Daphne

    Zac Efron has signed on to voice Fred Jones while Amanda Seyfried will voice Daphne Blake in Warner Bros.’ animated Scooby-Doo feature film “Scoob.” It was revealed earlier this month that Will Forte had been set to voice Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, while Gina Rodriguez would be voicing Velma Dinkley. The mystery-solving teens and their talking [...]

  • 'Staff Only' Review: Cultures And Values

    Film Review: 'Staff Only'

    Marta (Elena Andrada) is 17, from Barcelona and alternately bored and mortified to be on a Christmas vacation to Senegal with her estranged dad, Manel (Sergi López), and annoying little brother, Bruno (Ian Samsó). For her, the freedoms of imminent adulthood, such as the occasional poolside mojito, are tantalizing close but still technically forbidden, rather [...]

  • Rocketman

    Candid 'Rocketman' Dares to Show Elton John as 'Vulnerable,' 'Damaged,' 'Ugly'

    Elton John movie “Rocketman” dares to portray the singer’s personality early in his career to have been, at times, “ugly,” Taron Egerton – who plays the pop star – told an audience at London’s Abbey Road Studios Friday, following a screening of 15 minutes of footage from the film. It is a candid portrayal, showing [...]

  • Ben Affleck

    Ben Affleck's Addiction Drama Set for Awards-Season Release

    Warner Bros. has given Ben Affleck’s untitled addiction drama an awards-season-friendly release date of Oct. 18. The film, which has been known previously as “The Has-Been” and “Torrance,” is directed by Gavin O’Connor and stars Affleck as a former basketball player struggling with addiction, which has led to him losing his wife. As part of [...]

  • Jordan Peele'Us' film premiere, Arrivals, New

    Jordan Peele Explains the Meaning Behind the 'Us' Michael Jackson Reference

    Jordan Peele’s horror movie “Us” is filled with pop culture references, from “Jaws” to “Goonies.” But the most divisive might be right in his opening sequence. Warning, minor spoilers ahead. The movie about a couple (played by Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke) and their children being hunted and brutalized by a mysterious family that looks just [...]

  • Swiss Film Award Winners Led By

    ‘Those Who Work,’ ‘Chris the Swiss’ Top 2019 Swiss Film Awards

    Two debut features in writer-director Antoine Russbach’s “Those Who Work” and Anja Kofmel’s animated documentary “Chris the Swiss,” were the big winners at Friday night’s Swiss Film Awards, notching three plaudits each. Sold by Be For Films, “Those Who Work,” stars Belgian actor Olivier Gourmet, who has appeared in every single film by Jean-Pierre and [...]

  • Lupita Nyong'o as Adelaide Wilson doppelgänger

    Box Office: Jordan Peele's 'Us' to Easily Surpass 'Get Out' in Killer Opening Weekend

    Jordan Peele’s horror-thriller “Us” will likely slay the box office competition this weekend. It’s projected to generate an impressive $64 million through the weekend at 3,741 sites in North America, early estimates showed Friday. “Us” is over-performing recent forecasts, which had ranged from $38 million to $50 million. It should wind up with about $27 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content