60 seconds with Toni Collette

August 7, 2015
Originally published in: Metro
Written by Anna Smith

Concern Worldwide’s global ambassador talks to Metro newspaper (UK) about her new film Glassland, and how Concern’s work inspires her — “they listen to
individuals and cater to their needs specifically. No blanket or quick fixes. All passion. Quiet achievers.”

Best known for her debut role in Muriel’s Wedding, the Australian actress, 42, plays an Irish alcoholic mother in the film Glassland.

Congratulations on an incredible performance in Glassland. What persuaded you to take on the film?

The story – a kid’s pursuit to save a parent. It’s inverted but it happens. It was just so honest, I couldn’t help but fall into it.

What was the biggest challenge of the filming process?
The specificity of the accent scared me. And there was no time to get over the jetlag before filming!

What are your fondest memories of working with on-screen son Jack Reynor?
That face. So open. He’s a sweetheart. He made connecting very easy. He was always fully present in our scenes.

What part are you most recognised for?
The obvious ones – Muriel’s Wedding, The Sixth Sense, Little Miss Sunshine, About A Boy.

How often do you hear someone say the phrase, ‘You’re terrible, Muriel?’
Most weeks. It’s usually people who relate to the movie, so they’re shy about it but can’t help themselves.

What’s the most underrated film you’ve done?
Japanese Story. I had a s**t time making it. I mean, it pushed all my buttons about loss, so it was challenging in that sense but also it was logistically difficult. I directed myself, basically. I’m proud of my performance given the circumstances.

What does your average day look like when you’re not working?
If I wake early enough, I meditate and stretch but generally my son jumps on me around 6am human trampoline-style and wrestles me until I’m up, shouting, ‘Get up, Mum, it’s morning!’ He’s all action — while he screams and runs, I tell him to please scream quietly so as not to wake his sister. I get my gorgeous girl ready for school, then we all bike, skate or scoot her to school. I come home and exercise, read, write and swim if the weather is up to it. My son goes to preschool somewhere in there. In the evening, we eat together, then I brush my daughter’s long locks before book reading and cuddling the kids to sleep. I shower and read or watch something before I pass out.

What are you passionate about outside of film?
Concern Worldwide’s work. I am their global ambassador and admire and promote the way they help some of the poorest and most helpless people and countries in the world. Their work astounds me. They listen to individuals and cater to their needs specifically. No blanket or quick fixes. All passion. Quiet achievers. I also love to snorkel. It’s bliss.

Do you subscribe to any conspiracy theories?
Life itself is a mystery. I’m still getting used to that idea.

Which one item of clothing do you cherish most?
My Marc Jacobs leather jacket.

What’s your most and least glam moment?
The least glam moment is easy. It was after shooting in a fake snowstorm for three days straight on a film recently. The wind, fake sudsy snow, twigs, leaves, general debris, tears and trudging thigh-high through something akin to quicksand left my body aching and my face unrecognisable. Think blowfish. Glam? Lying by the pool in Mexico with a margarita and a tan? It felt good. Don’t know how it appeared.

What’s the craziest Hollywood party you’ve been to?
Alanis Morissette had one at her house in the late 1990s/2000. I don’t know her, I just went with a friend and danced like a maniac. Olivia Newton-John and mini indoor basketball hoops? Awesome!

What were your childhood obsessions?
I wagged school to stay home and read. I loved a book called The Girl With Silver Eyes. She could move things telekinetically. I tried so hard to do that to no avail. I also loved The Karate Kid, Homer Hudson ice cream, The Beatles, The Supremes, Little Athletics, swimming, singing, trees, riding my bike and sleeping outside.

What’s coming up?
Miss You Already opens in the UK in September. I love it. It’s about friendship and it brought Drew Barrymore into my world. Win-win.

Glassland is available digitally today and on DVD from next Monday