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Recommend Interview: Toni Colette on horror,grief,and her prismatic performances (Email)

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by Nathaniel R

Toni Collette gives one of the year's great performances staring into the abyss of her own life in "Hereditary"Toni Collette doesn't like horror movies.We relate but there are exceptions: horror films starring Toni Collette are events.Her resistance to the genre,  she refers to both of her biggest horror hits as "classic dramas",may be the strange key to why she's so superb in them,grounding them in emotional truths while simultaneously having the kind of stylistic range as an actor that can lift right off with them into otherworldly places.

We recently sat down after an encore screening and lively Q&A ofHereditary.Her sole Oscar nomination came early in her career as the grieving mother of little Haley Joel Osment inThe Sixth Sense(1999) and in a way,twenty years later,she's bookended that great early success with another very different grieving mother.This one's much harder to love but the performance is even better.Even if you don't love horror movies,it's impossible to miss the fact that her Annie,a self-indulgent artist and resentful mother,is a tour de force performance from an actress at the top of her game. Annie's life is traumas stacking up on traumas but Toni's performance keeps stacking brilliance upon brilliance.

Though she's played her share of narcissists or flighty women,the actress herself comes across as generous and grounded,thrilled by the collaboration of filmmaking.She rolls her eyes about herself and other actors if anyone gets too precious or self-involved about the craft. Though she loves acting dearly,she hilariously refers to it as her "day job"as we're making small talk before the interview.

In a rare turnabout,as we sat down,Toni asked the first question.So we'll begin right there....


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