“I was not looking to do anything like this and in reading it, it was almost like I had no choice, I knew that I was going to have to do this,” reveals Toni Collette in our exclusive webcam interview (watch the video above) about taking on her starring role as a grieving mother on the verge of a nervous breakdown in the indie horror hit “Hereditary.”
The actress is an Emmy winner plus Oscar and Tony nominee who stars alongside Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff and newcomer Milly Shapiro as a family haunted after the death of their secretive grandmother. It has been acclaimed as one of the best films of the year, with particular acclaim for the cast and Aster as a first-time helmer. After premiering back in June this year, the film has surpassed expectations by grossing over $79 million to be one of the most successful indie hits of the year and distributor A24’s most successful film to date.
“It says something very real about grief. It’s almost like an awakening,” the actress declares. “This woman has been betrayed by her mother her entire life, every decision hasn’t really been her own and she lives with this ominous dread of knowing something’s wrong but she doesn’t really know what it is, and can’t pinpoint it. And this moment in this story is the moment she realizes the reality of her existence,” she explains. “In any other movie this would be a moment of hope, this understanding of what she’s been living with, but this film is truly horrific because there’s no way out, and that’s the saddest and scariest part of the movie.”
So far this awards season, the film has received nominations from the Critics’ Choice Awards, Independent Spirits and the Gotham Awards, with particular praise being heaped on its leading lady. To date, Collette has taken Best Actress at the Gothams and scored another win from the Detroit Film Critics Society. She could be receiving a second career Oscar nomination, 18 years after her first for another horror smash “The Sixth Sense.”
“For people to have responded to ‘Hereditary’ in this way is incredible. I’m really excited for Ari, it’s his first movie. It’s been really interesting watching the response to it,” Collette admits. “It’s an amazing combination of things. It’s not your average horror film with just having these jump scares… I just found this story to be so moving and profound and about some things that are important in life. Family dynamics and grief and how those things can really change you. It’s a very beautiful movie, it has a sense of poetry to it.”
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